In the southwest of China in Chongqing, due to a rare genetic mutation, a kitten with two muzzles appeared. Nature gave the baby an extra mouth and nose and two pairs of eyes! On one face of the kitten white fur prevails, and on the other – dark.
According to reports, the newborn lived only two days. This is a common outcome for cats with this rare genetic disorder, which has already been encountered before and has been called the “Janus cat” in honor of the mythological two-faced Roman god.
The most famous two-faced cat in the world bore the name of Frank Lewis. She lived for 15 years and died in 2014, hitting the Guinness Book of Records as a long-liver in her own unique way.
In an interview in 2014 about this famous cat, Leslie Lyons, a cat genetics specialist at the Department of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery at the University of Missouri, explained that the cause of the genetic mutation that makes cats born with two faces is not entirely clear, is explained by the development of kittens in the womb of the mother.
As scientists believe, Janus cats have unusually high levels of SHH protein, which controls the development of the basic features of the face. In laboratory tests, chick embryos, who were artificially injected with high levels of SHH, were born with two beaks and four eyes.
There are other cases of feline facial mutation. So, in 2012, a widely distributed photo and video of a cat named Venus, one half of whose face was black and the other half red.
Cats are not the only animals that were born two-faced. Any mammal is subject to a genetic mutation, but the fate of such individuals is usually sad. In the wild they become easy prey for predators or have difficulty eating.