Stray moggy gives birth to 'wolf cat'

Eyona, a lykoi or 'wolf-cat' (TEARS Animal Rescue)
Eyona, a lykoi or 'wolf-cat' (TEARS Animal Rescue)

A stray tabby in South Africa has given birth to the world's rarest type of cat.

Eyona, one of a litter of six found in a Cape Town park, is a lykoi, or "wolf cat".

Stray moggy gives birth to 'wolf cat'

Eyona (TEARS Animal Rescue)

Animal news site The Dodo reports he was found by volunteers from TEARS Animal Rescue, who knew instantly there was something different about him.

"He's got the look of a wolf, but the physique of a cat," said TEARS operations manager Mandy Store. "We thought he might be a sphinx crossbreed, but he's got a lot of little physical differences from cats. He's quite incredible."

They took him to a vet, who confirmed he is just the world's 35th example of a lykoi. Not quite a distinct breed yet, lykoi are created by a genetic mutation first identified in 2010.

Lykoi cats shed their hair frequently, but regularly grow it back. They also have no undercoat. And despite their vicious appearance, they're aloof but friendly.

"He's very much like a dog," Ms Store told The Dodo. "He's playful like a dog. He'll look you in the eyes with a sense of great attachment, unlike most feral cats. He'll even drag his blanket around with him. It's like he doesn't know how to be a kitty."

Stray moggy gives birth to 'wolf cat'

Lykoi cats act somewhat like dogs (TEARS Animal Rescue)

TEARS says it will hold onto Eyona, rather than sell him to a breeder.

"Everybody wants to meet him, and everyone wants to buy him. But that's not what we want," said Ms Store.

"The last thing we ever want is for him to be exploited. We have the responsibility to makes sure he has a normal life so he can be who he is."

The other cats in the litter were plain, generic tabbies.