Werewolf kittens are coming to an Instagram feed near you. At the rare intersection of “cute, furry things” and “Halloween-themed, ” the special breed known as the Lykoi catis winning approving from the Internet masses. Yes, the same people that ran utterly ballistic over teacup poodles and miniature ponies are littering your Facebook feed with photos of kittens that look like wolverines.
It’s easy to understand the wolverine kitten‘s mass appeal, as the striking felines possess werewolf-like features. The kittens have ember-like eyes, wolf-like ears and short, scruffy hair. And unlike most cute baby versions of predatory animals, wolverine kittens won’t perhaps kill you once they grow full-size.
Reddit user TheBigBruce offered his take over the unique looks of the wolverine kittens: “This is what would happen if Thanos use the Infinity Gauntlet to turn Wolverine into a kitten.”
The International Cat Association told WUSA9that werewolf kittens are “very friendly and demand attention.” Dr. Johnny Gobble, a veterinarian in Tennessee who is the Lykoi cat’s founding breeder, told ABC News that the wolverine kittens have several canine-like traits. They wag their tails, enjoy playing fetch, and can even track scents.
Still , not everyone is a fan of the wolverine kittens, with some dismissing them as “designer pets” that people will buy and soon forget.
The Daily Dot spoke to Brittney Gobble, wife of Dr. Gobble, about such allegations. She called the “designer pet” label for the Lykoi cat breed inaccurate, but added that it’s a common misconception. Most “designer pets, ” like the labradoodle or the goldendoodle, are crossbreeds, or separate breeds that are mixed together for their unique appearance.
“The Lykoi is an absolute genetic mutation. “Were not receiving” other purebred cat involved, ” told Gobble. Lykoi kittens possess a recessive genetic mutation that result in no hair on the face , nose, paws and underbelly.
Joan Miller of the Cat Fanciers Association agreed with Gobble’s assessment of the wolverine kitten, telling Pet3 60 that the Lykoi breed is not a “designer” breed or a “genetically modified” animal. Additionally, mixing cat breeds is common, as well as an important way to maintain the genetic diversity of the pool.
The Gobbles have embarked on an virtually five-year process to attain “championship” status from the International Cat Association for the Lykoi cat, which they expect to receive in 2016. This stamp of approval from TICA would set the Lykoi in the same status as Siamese cats and other recognized cat breeds.
The origin story of the wolverine kitten began when the Gobbles received a brother and sister pair of Lykoi kittens. Gobble told the Daily Dot that her husband then sent scalp samples to a genetic laboratory, who confirmed that the cats possessed a recessive gene that dedicated them the unusual hair pattern of the Lykoi cat and weren’t half-sphinx, as is commonly misconstrued.
Six months later, the Gobbles were able to acquire another brother and sister pair from a different state. The household performed the same round of genetic testing as they did with the first pair, confirming that they had another couple of Lykoi cats in tow. Lykoi cats from the opposite families were bred and the rest is history.
Unlike most pet tendencies, the quirky status of the Lykoi cat may have been their saving grace. According to Gobble, the Lykoi cat’s strange, hairless appearance was often mistaken for illness. “The cats were being tossed aside, ” she said.
Nowadays, adopting a “show-standard” black wolverine kitten from the Gobbles will set you back $2,500, though there are none can be found at this time. Why? The Gobbles have taken their time in breeding the cats, focusing on breeding them for health and appearance rather than trendy features. The black wolverine kittens are the progeny of a Lykoi cat and a black solid domestic short-hair, which Gobble tells was in order to “broaden” the gene pool.
The Gobbles have worked to include many Lykoi cats found in the feral cat population, in order to avoid the inbreeding and health problems that occur with some many pedigreed cat breeds and designer beds. In addition, all of the wolverine kittens available for adoption have been spayed and neutered.
“You don’t want to over-breed, ” Gobble told. “The goal was not the money. The objective was we love these cats, their personalities, and their looks.”
Photo via Brittany Gobble