An adorable cat has an uncommon genetic mutation that makes its facial hair resemble that of a werewolf – a famous mythological creature.
The breed of the domestic cat is called Lykoi (which comes from the Greek word ‘wordlykos’, or wolf) and it was first created in Vonore, Tennessee.
According to Johnny Gobble, a Lykoi breeder and veterinarian in Tennessee, Lykoi cats are partially hairless around their eyes, chin, muzzle, legs, and paws. Besides their wolf-like appearance, the tiny cats also have the tendency to act like canines, Gobble stated.
Although they are still cats they act like dogs in many ways. For instance, when more Lykoi cats get together, they behave like a pack of tail-wagging puppies, and run after play items like a bunch of excited dogs, Gobble explained.
These behaviours do not occur in all werewolf cats, and there are other cat breeds that also have some dog-like traits. However, overall Lykoi do not act like the average house cat.
Lykoi’s werewolf traits are a result of a genetic mutation that occurs naturally, but geneticists have yet to find the specific genes that are responsible for the strange appearance of the cats, according to Gobble who was also the first person to breed the werewolf kitties.
Researchers at the University of California, Davis conducted genetic tests and found that although Lykoi shares some characteristics with the Sphynx cat, it does not share the same genes.
To determine that the cats’ strange hair growth patterns are not caused by an infection or a disease, cardiologists and dermatologists at the University of Tennessee conducted some tests on the cats and eventually rejected that possibility.
Gobble said that the genetic mutation is recessive, and to breed the werewolf cats, he and his wife pair black domestic cats adopted from shelters with the Lykoi cats. As a result, the baby cats will look like normal black cats, but will carry the gene. When those black kitties grow up and are paired with other Lykoi, the offspring will be werewolf kittens.
The offspring of two Lykoi cats will also look like furry werewolves, but Gobble avoids breeding Lykoi cats with each other, because it decreases the genetic variability which can result in health problems.
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