CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA – One of the rarest cats in the world has been discovered living under a bush in Cape Town’s Company’s Garden.
The Lykoi‚ also know as a “werewolf cat”‚ found by the TEARS Animal Rescue feral cat team‚ is South Africa’s only natural-born Lykoi and one of just 35 in the entire world.
US vet Johnny Gobble‚ a Lykoi expert‚ said although they had been bred in South Africa‚ “the little Lykoi at Tears is the first natural mutation in South Africa reported”.
The kitten is just one of a litter of six taken to Tears in March after their mother – a domestic tabby — just disappeared.
Gobble stated all naturally occurring Lykoi had been found running wild. “We have some from shelters‚ some from feral cat colony trap-and-release programmes‚ and some that were found on the streets.
“This is why we call the Lykoi a second-chance breed. All of the cats in the starting programme were rescues. They have great personality overall‚ and we have found no genetic health problems so far. Since they come from the feral colonies‚ I think they have great immune systems.”
Since monitoring of the breed began back in 2011‚ there have been 34 reported natural mutations from around the world.
At first‚ due to the cat’s strange appearance and behaviour — he did not play as a typical cat would‚ and displayed qualities which were more dog-like — Tears staff thought the cat was ill.
They have now named the kitty Eyona — Xhosa for “The One” — and will make him the centerpiece of the “Quest for Hidden Treasure” campaign‚ in which they will ask for food‚ blankets and medicine‚ as well as adoptive homes for other abandoned cats and dogs.
Eyona‚ however‚ will not be looking for a forever home. Tears has decided to keep this one!