It's no accident Lykoi Cats look a lot like little werewolves... actually, it IS an accident: these strikingly cute (or jaw-droppingly creepy depending on your POV) felines first appeared almost four years ago as a natural mutation from a black domestic shorthair mother.

Lykoi Werewolf Cats

One might assume these “semi-haired” cats derive from cross-breeding fully-furred cats with one of the recognized hairless breeds such as the Sphinx or Devon Rex but surprisingly that's not the case. Thorough DNA testing performed on the two original litters of Lykoi Cats – born in July and September of 2010 – indicated the kittens did not possess ANY Sphinx or Devon Rex genes.

Instead, the coats of Lykoi Cats are the result of a unique genetic mutation that leaves their hair follicles short of several components essential for the growth of a complete coat of fur. As well, these cats are unable to grow undercoats, a trait held in common with Brazilian Shorthair cats.

Lykoi Werewolf Cats

Further DNA testing conducted at UC Davis, skin examinations by veterinary dermatologists at the University of Tennessee, and cardiac scans performed by registered veterinary cardiologists confirmed the original Lykoi Cats were unaffected by other genetic abnormalities sometimes present in new breeds of cats.

Once given the green light, as it were, Johnny and Brittney Gobble of Sweetwater, Tennessee embarked upon the first Lykoi-to-Lykoi breeding program. The Gobbles were rewarded with the first kitten on September 14th of 2011. Due to the fact that the cats' “werewolf” look is more noticeable in black-haired cats, the Gobbles have focused on only outcrossing their Lykoi Cats with black Domestic Shorthairs. These days, Brittney Gobble and Melissa Ryan operate Lykoi_VA out of Gasburg, Virginia.

Lykoi Werewolf Cats

What's next for these so-called “Werewolf Cats”? A lot more of them for one thing: the Gobbles have provided Lykoi Cats to breeders in the USA, Canada and France. Lykoi Cats have also received a vote of confidence from the world's largest genetic cat registry, TICA (The International Cat Association), who formally recognized the Lykoi Cat as a true breed. They even have their own Facebook page. Now if they can only get them to howl instead of meow. (images via Crazy Zombie, dozhub, and ~*Nada*~)