Two-Faced Cat Sets World Record

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Published June 2012

 

A twelve year old two-faced cat becomes the oldest living Janus cat and is listed in the 2012 edition of Guinness World Records!

Dubbed Frank and Louie, a double name for this unusual feline, the cat was born with two faces, two mouths, two noses, three eyes and lots of doubts about his future.

The pedigreed Ragdoll was born in September 8, 1999.

His concerned breeder took him to the renowned Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, Massachusetts to be euthanized when he was just a day old.

Marty Stevens was a veterinary technician at the school and offered to take him home, despite his poor prognosis for survival and an uncertain future. She began by tube feeding him until he was old enough to have surgery. She then helped him get surgical procedures as necessary for his survival.

The name "Janus cat" was coined by British zoologist Dr. Karl Shuker, based on the two-faced Roman god of transitions, gates and doorways. Kittens born with the condition almost never survive beyond a few days. Most have congenital defects, including a cleft palate that makes it difficult for them to nurse and often causes them to slowly starve or get milk in their lungs and die of pneumonia.

Frank and Louie has a case of craniofacial duplication, an extremely rare congenital condition resulting from a defective protein with the odd name of sonic hedgehog homolog (SHH).

The disorder, also known as diprosopia, can cause part or all of an individual's face to be duplicated on its head. It has been recorded multiple times in the domestic cat (Felis catus).

But Frank and Louie did not suffer from most of the common Janus problems. He has one brain, so both faces act in unison. Two of his eyes -- the outermost ones -- are normal, while the middle eye is larger but doesn't function.

The cat eats on the right side, using Frank's face, which is connected to his esophagus, while Louie's nose twitches at the same time. He walks on a leash and he loves car rides.The cat shares a home with a big dog, another cat and a few birds, including a parrot that sings opera.

Frank and Louie do not seem to be bothered by his condition and he (they?) has developed a friendly personality.

 


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