Lykoi cat
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Lykoi Cat Breed Profile

Est. read time: 8 min.

You cannot mistake the Lykoi cat for any other breed out there. Upon first glance, you might not be able to identify what kind of creature is before you, especially because they look completely different from most other cat breeds

Some call Lykois “werewolf cats” because of their appearance, but their temperament and personality would surprise you. They are extremely outgoing and sociable, forming close bonds with their humans and getting along well with all kinds of creatures, including other cats and dogs. These cats are rare to come across, but if you ever see one, you’ll be sure to think about the adorable encounter for days.

Keep reading to learn more about this lovable cat. You know what they say: Never judge a book by its cover!

Lykoi cat a glance
Personality Outgoing, playful, friendly
Life expectancy 15-20 years
Weight 6-12 lbs
Coat & colors Partially hairless; black-silver, roan
Energy level High
Affection level High
Friendliness High
Shedding level Low
Required grooming Medium

Overview of the Lykoi cat

Lykoi cat

The Lykoi is a small- to medium-sized cat with an extraordinary appearance. It is hard to mistake this cat for anything else, though sometimes they are compared to Sphynx cats due to their partial hairlessness. In fact, there is really no other breed like the Lykoi, making them quite an original feline. 

While you can’t deny their odd appearance, once you open up your home and heart to this cat, you’ll want to show them off to the world. They are charming companions and will entertain you for years to come. 


The Lykoi is not an exceptionally large cat, with males being slightly larger than females. They can weigh between 6 and 12 pounds, and most of their weight comes from their toned and athletic bodies.

Lykoi cats are a very active breed, and you won’t find them sitting still for long. Because of this, they do a good job at maintaining a healthy weight on their own—with a little help from their favorite humans, of course. 


Lykoi cats can grow between 11 and 14 inches long. They have lean and lithe body types that make the cat proportionate. Their tails aren’t very long compared to their bodies, with their legs being the longest feature. 


The Lykoi’s coat is what really stands them apart from other cat breeds: They have what is known as a roan pattern. The roan pattern is a mix of both colored and white fur, which makes their fur look even patchier next to their already partial hairlessness. The coat has a silver-like shimmer resulting from the roan pattern.

Their coat also looks wiry, similar to an opossum, but is rather soft and silky to the touch. The main color that a Lykoi comes in is solid black or ebony colorpoint, which only adds to their wolf-like appearance. 

Life expectancy

Lykoi cats are generally healthy cats, often living between 15 and 20 years. They are a strong breed that developed on their own over time, and because of this, they are known for their long lifespans. 

History of the Lykoi cat

Lykoi cat climbing tree

The Lykoi cat came about due to a natural mutation in a colony of feral cats in the United States. This natural mutation has happened to a variety of feral cat breeds. In the early 2010s, breeders and researchers wanted to better understand why some colonies of feral cats looked the way they did. 

What they found was that the gene for partial hairlessness was recessive, so they began working to establish these cats as their own breed. They were bred with black domestic cats to reduce the possibility of inbreeding. Since this cat occurred naturally, they are known to have longer than typical lifespans—and inbreeding could cause a rise in health-related issues. 

The name Lykoi may sound familiar, especially if you are someone who spent time in your childhood learning about mythical creatures. Lykoi comes from the Greek word “Lycos,” which inspires the word “Lycan”— a word short for lycanthrope—or werewolf. Upon first glance, you can’t deny that these cats look like their werewolf namesake!

Characteristics of the Lykoi cat

The Lykoi cat might be one of the most notable breeds out there. They have such a distinct appearance that contrasts their outgoing, sociable, friendly personality. Lykois have very large hairless ears, large eyes that are frequently bright gold or green, and black roan coats. 

Is the Lykoi hypoallergenic?

You might think Lykois would be more hypoallergenic than other cats because of their lack of fur, but it’s unfortunately not true. People aren’t only allergic to cat hair; they’re also allergic to cat saliva, urine, and dander.

While they don’t shed as much as some other breeds, gentle skincare is an absolute must. Their skin is very delicate, so sun and harsh brush bristles could be potentially damaging.

Personality and behavior

Lykoi cat with bag

Lykoi cats are extremely outgoing and playful. They do really well in households that have lots of people and other animals because they get along with everyone they meet. Don’t let their appearance fool you—these cats are incredibly friendly. 

They are an intelligent breed that can be taught basic commands and tricks, which they’ll do happily if it means they get to spend more time with their humans. Having plenty of toys in the household helps your Lykoi stay occupied and out of trouble.

This isn’t the most vocal breed; they tend to speak only when necessary (like to get your attention or demand their dinner).

Independent and proud

As much as Lykois want to spend time with their humans, they’re also very independent cats. They will trail off and follow a scent or find a hiding spot to watch the household. You’re likely to catch your Lykoi climbing to the highest point in your home and watching over everything, as if they are the protector of the family—which, in their mind, they are. 

To prevent your Lykoi from knocking things off shelves or putting themselves in precarious situations, consider setting up cat trees and shelves for them to climb and perch on. This way, they can go along with their business without breaking *too* many valuables. 

Lykois can entertain themselves and don’t always need their humans to be involved; it’s just that they like it when they are. Having other (cat-friendly) pets in the house is great for a Lykoi so they can have playmates. You’ll often hear your Lykoi bouncing around and playing well before you find them!

Caring for a Lykoi cat

Lykoi cat

Lykoi cats are a typically healthy breed. You can ensure your Lykoi stays healthy by taking them to the vet regularly and keeping an eye out for any behavioral changes.

For many cat parents, the most challenging aspect is their Lykoi’s hair and skincare routines. Because of this, patient, well-informed cat people tend to do best caring for this breed.

It’s recommended that the Lykoi always be kept indoors. Their hair doesn’t offer much protection from the summer sun or winter chill, so cat parents must be extra vigilant. Grab a few cat sweaters and cozy cat beds come wintertime to ensure they’re warm and comfy. 


When it comes to grooming your Lykoi, they require special care. Their skin is very sensitive, so before you attempt to brush them, find a non-irritating brush. Lykois do need to be bathed more regularly than other cats because oils can clog the skin and pores to create blackheads.

Bathing them with a gentle, moisturizing cat shampoo does a great job of keeping their skin clean. You can help them stay fresh in other ways by using a self-cleaning litter box, which will provide a fresh bed of litter for every time they need to go. 

When you bathe your Lykoi, make it a point to check their ears, as these cats are more likely to develop wax build-up. If they look extremely red or backed up, reach out to your veterinarian. Trim your Lykoi’s nails frequently to help avoid discomfort when they’re running around your house.

Health-related issues

Because the Lykoi breed came about as a natural mutation in a feral cat population, they are known to be very healthier than many purebred cats. With regular vet appointments, proper nutrition, and plenty of exercise, your Lykoi will stay in tip-top shape.

Due to their lack of hair, Lykois are more likely to get sunburns, so keeping them protected from the sun is essential. 

Taking home a Lykoi

The Lykoi is a special cat breed that deserves much love and admiration. These are amazing family pets that should be respected as much as they respect their humans. 

Don’t forget, however, that this is a very rare breed—so if you manage to come across one that is available for adoption, consider it a sign from the cat powers that be!


Photo credits:

  • © Steptacular / Wikipedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-4.0
  • © Christine Auverdin Boulanger / Wikipedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-4.0