The world’s rarest kitten – a Lykoi or Werewolf Cat – has been rescued from The Company’s Garden in Cape Town by Tears Animal Rescue Feral Cat Project staff and volunteers.
Tears say that the cat, which was found under a bush, is the only natural-born Lykoi on record in SA and one of just 35 in the world.
The Lykoi is believed to be a natural mutation, and has been found in other parts of the world over the past 20 years.
Experts say the cat is a mutation from a domestic shorthair that has the appearance of a werewolf.
Part of a litter of six kittens taken to TEARS for sterilisation in March after the disappearance of their mother – a Short Haired Domestic tabby – the only strange-looking kitten in the litter has since been confirmed as an incredibly rare Lykoi.
The little Lykoi at TEARS is the first natural mutation in South Africa reported to me. The Lykoi breeder in SA started with Lykoi cats from another breeder that we began with our lines so those cats were bred and did not occur naturally.— Dr Johnny Gobble, United States veterinarian and world Lykoi specialist
Since monitoring of the breed began in 2011, there have been 34 reported natural mutations from around the world. “The TEARS’ Lykoi is the 35th,” Gobble says.
Intrigued by the kitten’s strange appearance, Tears’ veterinarian, Dr Tracy Dicks, begin investigating the little creature's origins. With the help of skin scrapings, the identity of the kitten, was verified as a rare Lykoi.
He has been named Eyona, a Xhosa name that means “The One”, was verified as a Lykoi. Eyona has a safe home at Tears and they have no plans to re-home the little chap.
He is set to become the face of Tears Quest For Hidden Treasure campaign, to raise money for a mobile clinic to help animals in need.