Janus Cat: A Cat with Two Faces

Nature has a lot of surprises. Unfortunately, not all of them are nice and some of which can affect a life. For instance, there is the Janus cat, otherwise known as the chimera cat. These cats suffer from developmental defect and have low chances of surviving. But despite this, some do beat the odds and return the surprise to nature what with a Janus cat living beyond the expectations.

janus cat bettie bee
Janus Cat named Bettie Bee

What is a Janus Cat

A Janus cat is not a type of breed. They are felines that appear like the mythological creature chimera. But unlike the chimera, Janus cats only have two faces and not three heads. As such, these cats were named after the two-faced roman god “Janus” with the likeness more striking than with chimeras.

Two-faced cats or Janus cats are extremely rare; the science behind how they came to be is due to a congenital disorder called diprosopia.

janus cat deucy
Two-faced kitty named Deucy

What is Diprosopia

Diprosopia is a congenital disorder or in a more layman’s term, a birth defect. This occurs due to the genetic makeup of the parents or during the fetal stage of development. An excessive amount of a specific protein called SHH is also said to trigger this abnormality among the kittens in a mother’s womb. Supposedly, cats with diprosopia are conjoined twins that share one brain; it also has one body with one of the faces having an esophagus while the other doesn’t.

There are certain differences from one janus cat to another like one can look like they have four eyes and another can have a much more combined face with only three eyes.

janus cat from china
Chongqing, China: Janus Cat meowing in both faces

Janus Cat Lifespan

There are only a few reported cases of Janus cats. One was born in Chongqing, China. A video of the two-faced kitten meowing from two mouths set the internet abuzz with its curious looks and cute meows. Sadly, the kitten died at 2 days old. Another Janus kitten from Amity, Oregon also became a media darling after a YouTube video went viral. Named Deucy, she was another case of two-faced kitty. She was rejected by her mother soon after being born prompting cat owner Ms. Durkee to feed Deucy until her brief life was over. Another kitty named Bettie Bee, born in South Africa, lived to 16 days before passing away due to a sudden health decline. Due to the complications with these felines from birth, their life expectancy is usually just within a few days.

janus cat frank and louie
Frank and Louie, the longest lived Janus Cat

Longest Lived Janus Cat

A Janus Cat named Frank and Louie, also nicknamed Frankenlouie, was among the most known case of two-faced cats. Frankenlouie beat the odds and even set a record in the Guinness Book of Records in 2006 after having survived for so long. Frank and Louie lived a full life, reaching the ripe old age of 15 and died in 2014. Its cause of death was cancer, a deadly disease that’s among the familiar causes of death in cats. Frank and Louie’s unusual longevity did not only set a record in Guinness but has also became a great proof that despite Janus cats’ condition, there are still chances of these felines being able to live a full life.

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