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7 Common Lykoi (Wolf Cat) Health Problems

Brooke Billingsley

By Brooke Billingsley

Lykoi cat

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Dr. Lorna Whittemore


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The Lykoi is a relatively new cat breed that was named for its wolf-like appearance. The breed’s name is derived from the Greek word lycos, meaning “wolf.” These cats are fascinating and unique in appearance, but before bringing a Lykoi home, it’s important to understand the potential health concerns you might encounter.

Luckily, this breed has shown very few predispositions to medical conditions. However, this could simply be due to how young the breed is. It’s very possible that, over time, specific problems may begin to make themselves known. Responsible breeding is the best way to keep this from happening, but since this breed has so few known predispositions for medical conditions, appropriate health testing might be difficult to achieve.

The 7 Most Common Lykoi (Wolf Cat) Health Problems

1. Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD)

Type of condition Urinary
Treatable? Yes
Severity Moderate to severe

FLUTD is a serious medical condition that many cats experience. It tends to be more severe in male cats, but it can occur in female and male cats. FLUTD involves a combination of urinary tract problems, like inflammation and crystal formation.

In severe cases, crystals and inflammation can lead to the urinary tract becoming blocked. Urinary blockage is a medical emergency that can result in bladder rupture if left untreated. It often requires invasive procedures to correct. Cats with FLUTD usually require a special diet and stress reduction for their entire life.

black lykoi cat
Image Credit: Nynke van Holten, Shutterstock

2. Hypotrichia

Type of condition Integumentary
Treatable? No
Severity Variable

Calling hypotrichia a disease isn’t necessarily accurate because this is what is responsible for the sparse haircoat that defines the Lykoi cat breed. While many people who get Lykois know they’re in for a cat with a sparse coat, many people aren’t aware that these cats can molt and may lose most or all of their coat. The coat typically returns to its former state in a short period of time, but it can be distressing to notice your cat’s coat falling out.

3. Melanoma

Type of condition Cancer
Treatable? Variable
Severity Moderate to severe

Melanoma is a type of cancer that starts in the melanin cells of the skin. While Lykois have not shown a particular predisposition to this disease, it’s extremely likely for them to develop it if they spend a lot of time in the sun. This is because they lack the normal cat haircoat that would otherwise protect the skin from the sun’s rays.

Melanoma is a common cancer in other breeds of hairless and sparse coat cat breeds, like the Sphynx and the Devon Rex. It’s important to know that melanoma can also occur in the eyes, not just on the skin. If left untreated, melanoma can produce systemic metastases that can be deadly. New brown spots on your cat’s skin or eyes should be checked out by your vet.

Lykoi kitten
Image Credit: Eric Isselee, Shutterstock


4. Lymphocytic Mural Folliculitis

Type of condition Integumentary
Treatable? Yes
Severity Mild

Lymphocytic mural folliculitis is a type of skin disorder that results in inflammation within the skin. This inflammation most often presents as lesions, typically crusted or scaled lesions. This disorder can impact more than just the skin on the body, but it can also impact the footpads and mucus membranes, like the nose.

In a small study of Lykoi cats 77% had lymphocytic mural folliculitis. In other cat breeds it is more often associated with atopic (allergic) skin disease.

5. Hypothermia

Type of condition Systemic
Treatable? Yes
Severity Moderate to severe

Hypothermia is not a disease on its own, but it is something that occurs more frequently in cats with sparse coats. This condition involves a below-normal body temperature, which can lead to a whole host of systemic issues. Hypothermia most commonly occurs when cats are left in cold temperatures, but since Lykois lack a normal coat, they are unable to maintain their body temperature as efficiently as a normal-coated cat, which increases their chances of developing hypothermia in cool temperatures.

It can also be caused by an underlying medical issue resulting in the cat lacking the homeostatic ability to properly maintain its own body temperature. While most cases of hypothermia are treatable, it can result in permanent damage to the skin, nervous system, and internal organs.

lykoi cat sitting outdoor
Image Credit: danilobiancalana, Shutterstock

6. Diabetes

Type of condition Endocrine
Treatable? Yes
Severity Moderate

Diabetes is an endocrine disorder that is caused by improper functioning of the spleen, which releases insulin to maintain normal blood sugar levels within the body. Lykois are not at an increased risk of developing this disorder, but it is one of the more common disorders in any domestic cat. It’s generally associated with obesity, although there are other medical conditions that can lead to the development of diabetes.

Diabetes is usually a condition that can be managed but not cured. It often requires lifelong insulin injections, along with a special diet to help manage blood sugar levels. To prevent diabetes, the best option is to keep your cat at a healthy weight and feed it a nutritious, veterinary-approved diet.

7. Obesity

Type of condition Musculoskeletal
Treatable? Yes
Severity Variable

Like diabetes, obesity is a condition that Lykois don’t show a particular prevalence for, but it is extremely common in domestic cats in general. It’s especially common in fully indoor cats, and since Lykois lack the coat necessary to keep them protected from the elements outdoors, they should be kept inside.

Obesity is often caused by a combination of overfeeding and under-exercising. To prevent it, your cat needs a nutrient-dense diet that is fed to them in appropriate portions, along with daily exercise. Lykois tend to be active cats that are unlikely to laze around all day, so this is a breed that generally should not become obese with proper care.


At this time, the Lykoi is considered to be a healthy cat breed. Responsible breeders are careful to prevent inbreeding and work to select only the healthiest cats to breed to produce more Lykois. If careful breeding practices continue, this breed will likely continue to be healthy. Since these cats are bred for a specific coat type, though, there are concerns that some breeders may be breeding them with no other considerations for the health of the cats in mind. If the Lykoi has a shot at staying healthy in the long run, breeders and Lykoi owners need to band together to do away with irresponsible breeding practices and only support responsible breeding practices.


Featured Image Credit: Eric Isselee, Shutterstock

Brooke Billingsley

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Brooke Billingsley spent nine years as a veterinary assistant before becoming a human nurse in 2013. She resides in Arkansas with her boyfriend of five years. She loves all animals and currently shares a home with three dogs, two cats, five fish, and two snails. She has a soft spot for special needs animals and has a three-legged senior dog and an internet famous cat with acromegaly and cerebellar hypoplasia. Fish keeping...Read more

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