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 hiswebsite,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

411 comments

Veerle D.
Veerle D.23 hours ago

Sorry, but as a vet you should be smart enough to think of the pros and cons of creating another breed and the possible consequences in the long term beforehand. Sorry therefore isn't good enough...
Human ego and greed has no boundaries, I would say.

Me myself and I A.

Idiocy has no boundaries .... Dr. Gobble i am talking about you !!!

Claire Jordan
Claire Jordan2 days ago

I don't really have a problem with these, or not more than with any other domestic breed. There are two things to consider when looking at domestic animals whose appearance has been modified from the wild type. There are animals like this whose ability to survive in the wild has been reduced but who can live normal happy lives with human help - and that pretty-much applies to any cat who isn't a short-coated tabby or blue, since any strong colour will make it harder for them to hunt, and long or curly coats require human maintenance. Then there are animals who are so deformed that they can't lead normal lives even *with* human help. The British Rat Fancy, for example, bans the deliberate breeding of tailless rats because without their tails they are vulnerable to overheating. I've seen Care2 publish "cute" pictures of deformed kittens with faces so flat that they must inevitably face problems with their breathing, abnormal tear-ducts and etc, just because some human wanted a cat that looked like a human baby, so I'm not going to get excited about a healthy cat that looks as though moths have been at its fur.

anni a.
anni a.2 days ago

Leave what God created to God Himself. Only He's knows what's best, not humans

Iskrica Knežzevic

Thank you!

Past Member
Past Member 3 days ago

I hate people.

Beverley F.
Beverley F.6 days ago

So very sad. The vet should be prosecuted for animal cruelty.

GGmaSheila D.
GGmaSheila D.7 days ago

A Cat is a Cat is a Cat...not matter what this sweetie looks like he/she is a sweet feline. Too bad these kind of breeders won't look at the facts about how many poor cats, and dogs, are put out on the street and die without rescue...and the number for animals that are euthanized because nobody wants them.

There should no new breeds created until the matter of unwanted/uncared for pets is solved. No animal should go unloved.

Fi T.
Fi T.7 days ago

One's appearance can't tell anything

Michelle Hall
Michelle Hall8 days ago

tyfs