No it’s not from ‘Twilight’ — it’s the first werewolf cat in South Africa

2014-07-21 00:00

A WEREWOLF cat may sound like something from the plot of a seriously twisted bodice ripper gone wrong, but such an animal lives.

At the World of Dogs and Cats pet expo in Gallagher Estate, the seven-month-old Susi is one of only 13 new natural mutations of Lykoi, or “werewolf cats”, in the world. one of only 13 naturally mutated Lykoi cats in the world and the only one in South Africa.

Suzette van den Berg, a Sphynx breeder, said it was very important to care for mutant breeds because not everything in the world was finished. “These cats are given to us by the Lord.”

Elizabeth Swart of Disal Sphynx Cattery said a natural mutation occurs every 50 years among animals.

“The Lykoi cats, which lose their hair in summer, are not human-bred, this is something that happens naturally over time,” said Swart.

She said genetic tests had confirmed the cat is not related to any other cats in the world.

Van den Berg said the first Lykoi cat was discovered in 2012 in the United States, in Tennessee.

The U.S. breeders asked her to help establish the breed and Susi arrived in South Africa in March.

“Because I have been in the industry so long, people know me. They called me to ask to help establish the breed,” she explained.

She said it will take a few years before the breed could be deemed established.

“The first step will be to pair off Susi and a normal black short hair domesticated cat. The first generation will have the Lykoi gene, but will look like a normal domesticated cat.

“Then we can breed the first-generation with full-blood Lykois and only then will the kittens be full blood,” she explained.

Geraldine Coetzer from Burlesque Sphynx Cattery said South Africa, France, Canada and the U.S. were currently the only countries in which the rare new breed of cat can be seen.

• A mutation can be defined as a change in the DNA of an animal’s phenotype. Most mutations are harmful to the animal, but a few appear to enable it to overcome specific environmental challenges.

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