The new big thing in cats just might be the rise of the “werewolf cat,” even though most of the time; people seem to choose felines that have robust, full coats of fur. They use to shun the mangier looking of the species, which had tangled, thin hair but it appears that could be changing. The werewolf cat is actually known as the Lykoi cat and it is a brand new breed, one that has only been around for a couple of years. The name Lykoi comes from the word “lycanthrope,” due to the fact that this type of feline has only sporadic fur coverage, which sort of makes it look like a tiny werewolf. A cat specialist, Ian Chant, explained that the lack of a full coat was because of a genetic abnormality that affected the growth of hair.
Lykois have an altered gene variation that hinders their hair growth and robs the cats of much of their undercoats. They are left with hair follicles that are either incapable of producing any fur, or ones that can produce but are unable to maintain the hair. While the animals do have some fur, it is thin, and very sparse about the paws and face. This causes the Lykois to have a leaner, somewhat mangy appearance, with eyes that are not covered with hair. Therefore, that gives the eyes a look of being both bigger and rounder than usual.
It seems so far that Lykois are doing very well, as long as their owners keep them inside where they are able to compensate for their absence of fur with external sources of warmth. However, at the present time, all “werewolf” kitties are still fairly young, so any specific health concerns may not show up until the collective age of the felines becomes older.
Unfortunately, it is not always health that humans seek when they look at purchasing a new animal breed. A lot of times it is novelty. Breeders attempt to look for certain traits and do their best to not only have them come out but refine them to their peak. Instead of being weeded out like they would be in nature, such breeding mutations are now preserved, desired, highlighted and reproduced on a grand scale.
The fact that animal breeders usually select for appearance, often to the impairment of the creatures’ health, is not news to anyone but since it is so well known about the link between animals’ diseases and genetics, should individuals stop purchasing such mutated cats because they could end up with major health problems? That is something to be pondered upon by the individual before purchasing an animal.
It is only fair to think about the welfare that is related to the breeding of this kind of pet. The news has so far been good about Lykoi breeders that they are apparently taking the required steps to make sure the werewolf cats stay as healthy as possible. This is something that all breeders and owners need to think about with their animals.
Cats are one of the most beloved pets in the world, even more so than dogs and most of the time they are chosen because of their beautiful, rich, full fur coats. However times may be changing due to the introduction of a brand new feline species. It appears that the next big thing in cats could be the Lykoi or “werewolf cat.”
By Kimberly Ruble