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Given the problem of astronomical triggers in an environment rife with astronomical triggers, maybe borrow a line from vampirism and say that lycanthropy is an invasive, alien mode of reproduction? That way, you retain the "dread at loss of control, self, and identity" than is the hallmark of the transformative curse.
For example, you have an alien species which infects a host, but only gets expressed when the host is in a good position to infect another - maybe the trigger is low population density (alone with someone), or proximity to some other kind of trigger which is conducive to infection (a certain environment - moonlight can become a special case!)
Perhaps the werewolf's initial draw of blood "samples" the victim, which then guides whether the monster leaves infected survivors, or simply kills its victims.