The ‘Werewolf Cat’ Is Everything That’s Wrong With Designer Breeds

Really? It’s come down to this, has it? A veterinarian in Tennessee has been working hard to breed a new type of cat. His crowning achievement is the Lykoi, a cat that looks like a werewolf and acts a little like a dog.

Web sites from Perez Hilton to Gizmodo are cooing over the “scary cuteness” of this new cat. Is anyone stopping to consider what type of person is most likely to want a cat that looks like a movie monster? What are these hipsters and freak fans going to do with these sweet cats when the exotic thrill wears off and the litter boxes still need to be changed?

So Whats a Lykoi Anyway?

The word “lykoi” translates from Greek as “wolf cat.” No one really “created” the Lykoi, contrary to many stories on the web. The cat is a result of an apparently rare but natural gene mutation that is sometimes seen in domestic shorthair cats.

The mutation causes it to have a strange type of fur growth. Portions of its face around the eyes, muzzle, legs and stomach are nearly bald. The rest of its fur is patchy and appears grizzled. Due to a genetic glitch in its hair follicles, the Lykoi has no undercoat.

The Lykoi or "Werewolf Cat"

A natural mutation causes the Lykoi to look like a werewolf.

During the summer of 2010, a woman with a pair of unusual kittens contacted Dr. Johnny Gobble of Vonore, Tenn. Dr. Gobble, a veterinarian, was fascinated with the mutation evident in these cats.

After running several DNA, heart, skin and other tests to be sure this recessive gene mutation isn’t a precursor to disease or other disorders, Dr. Gobble decided he wanted to breed for this specific kind of cat. According to his website, when the Gobbles saw an advertisement selling similar kittens from a different set of parents in September 2010, they knew they had their “founding cats.”

The Lykoi personality is roughly similar to that of a hunting dog, Dr. Gobble says. They exhibit extreme loyalty and are highly motivated by scent, to the extent that “these guys go almost ‘on point’ when they get a whiff of something!” Smart and affectionate, they are said to use their paws a bit like hands and sometimes clasp them as though “praying.”

Interesting and cool? Yes, they are. The question is: Did we really need another trendy pet for people to clamor over?

Currently there are only seven authorized breeders of the Lykoi in the United States, Canada, South Africa and France. The International Cat Association (TICA) recognized the Lykoi as a new breed in 2012. Gobble hopes to complete the full registration process with TICA so the Lykoi may enter cat show competition as early as 2016.

See a video of a Lykoi kitten here:

Dr. Gobble says he gets daily requests to buy his kittens. People ask him about the Lykoi at least ten times a day. To say these cats are popular sellers is an understatement. They’re a gold mine, and therein lies the problem. A man named Wally Conron knows all about what’s coming next.

Regrets of the Man Who Created the Labradoodle

Wally Conron is widely credited as the man who first bred the Labradoodle, a cross between a labrador retriever and a poodle. His purpose was noble. In the late 1980s, he was trying to help a couple from Hawaii who were looking for a dog that was both hypoallergenic and able to assist the blind.

Others also wanted dogs with these qualities, but didn’t want anything put purebreds. Conron’s stroke of genius was coming up with the name Labradoodle for the poodle/retriever mix.

“I went to our PR team and said, ‘Go to the press and tell them we’ve invented a new dog, the labradoodle.’ It was a gimmick, and it went worldwide,” Conron told The Guardian. “No one wanted a crossbreed, but the following day we had hundreds of calls from people wanting these master dogs.”

In time, everybody started breeding Labradoodles and other poodles mixes, but with no consideration for genetics or background.

“I opened a Pandora’s box, that’s what I did,” says Conron now, with much regret. “I released a Frankenstein.”

For most of these unscrupulous breeders, the only real consideration is money. Much the same thing is happening with other designer dogs, such as Peekapoos, Puggles, Maltipoos and Cheagles. The list of such hybrids is dishearteningly endless.

Conron himself bred only 31 Labradoodles and then stopped. Today he lives on a pension in a small apartment. He purposely chose to make no money from the Labradoodle craze. He rues the day he ever came up with the breed.

“I’ve done a lot of damage,” Conron told The Associated Press recently. “I’ve created a lot of problems.”

Dr. Gobble seems like a nice man with a genuine affection for these cats. The Lykois themselves seem to be sweet-natured, interesting companions. Putting these factors aside for a moment, though, isn’t it abundantly clear by now that world doesn’t need more exotic breeds?

We have far too many homeless companion animals already and yet people are breeding more. Will the world someday heed the experience and advice of Wally Conron? Will we stop creating Frankenstein dogs and werewolf cats?

Photo credit (all photos): Lykoi Cats Facebook Page / B. Gobble

567 comments

Elisa F
Elisa Fyesterday

:( Adopt Rescue instead.

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Carl R
Carl R4 days ago

Thanks!!!

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Susanne Wiesneth
Susanne W7 days ago

Absolutely perverse! A veterinarian as a breeder. He should be deprived of his license, lifelong prohibition of work. To save animals, not to torment them, that was once the reason for his vet studies (at least that's what I hope). I despise Dr. Gobble deeply. A self-proclaimed God over nature - disgusting. Even it's a single case, but these cats already live. New fashion? New happiness? For whom? Surely not for these poor animals.

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Lisa M
Lisa M7 days ago

Such a greedy, self-serving, sickening, parasitic piece of human junk.

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Roopak V
Roopak Vaidya8 days ago

"Breeds" are a form of racist caste system...
There are no breeds in nature.

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heather g
heather g8 days ago

What an appropriate name : Dr Gobble !! Quote : "For most of these unscrupulous breeders, the only real consideration is money."

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Friedrich Kling Hauss

It's all about the $$$$$$$$. Pain, suffering, death inflicted on other life forms is perfectly acceptable when $$$$$$$$$ is concerned. Unconscionable. This is why we are supposed to have laws.

Meanwhile, some would have us believe there’s no difference between the Dems and the Repubs. I assume this statement applies to environmental issues as well since I do not recall qualifications.
Meanwhile, Monarch butterfly numbers continue to nose dive according to an analysis by my beloved alma mater, the University of Missouri- Columbia. The analysis concludes that the iconic Monarch has reached or is close to reaching functional extinction due to a perfect storm of large habitat loss in the US, deforestation in Mexico, and pollution.

Thankfully, Trump and the Republican congress are responding to the mass extinction emergency. The Trump White House and congress are proposing legislation that will repeal the highly successful Endangered Species Act (don’t let success get in the way). Trump refuses to grant endangered status to any newly proposed species. Most recently, the critically endangered Rusty Patched bumblebee was told to go extinct by Trump/

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oliver mally
oliver mally8 days ago

these are animals not damn' toys! these breeders are abusive assholes! period!

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Renata B
Renata B8 days ago

This poor creature is ugly, that's a fact. Some people like ugly but this doesn't change the truth. Cats are supposed to have fur. The lack of fur leads to skin cancer and to many other diseases (propensity to intestinal and respiratory problems. These manipulations should be forbidden. There are millions of splendid cats dying in shelters because they are not enough adoptions: if you want a cat go there.
Hitler had this idea of manipulating nature: on humans or animals it doesn't make any difference to me. This idea should have been buried once and for all with the concentration camps. Instead it seems to be flourishing more and more. Just think of that poor Sphynx cat.
I totally agree with the author. It is infinitely sad.

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Joanne p
Joanne p8 days ago

eww

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