Happy Birthday to the Two-Faced Kitty

By Max

Kittens born with craniofacial duplication — 2 faces — usually don’t live more than a few days, but a Ragdoll in Worcester, Mass., beat the odds and just celebrated his 12th birthday.

These cats have been given the name “Janus cats,” after the Roman god who guards both sides of doorways.

Frank and Louie was born on September 8, 1999, to a breeder. He was a day old and the size of a thumb when the breeder took him to the vet school at Tufts University to have him killed.

Fortunately, a veterinary nurse named Marty offered to adopt the weird kitten. Who could give him a better chance at survival?

Frank and Louie had a feeding tube his first 3 months because such kittens often have cleft palate and trouble eating, or they get food in their lungs and die of pneumonia, so Marty wasn’t taking any chances.

Her devotion paid off, and Frank and Louie made it. The faces share one brain and body, with three eyes between them, but the eye in the middle doesn’t work.

Frank and Louie go out for a stroll (Photo - AP/Steven Senne)

Frank, the face on the right, does the eating because his mouth is attached to the esophagus. Louie moves his mouth during meals, though.

I think Louie’s head seems to go more with the body, but since Frank rules mealtimes, I wonder if they both think of themselves as the “whole” cat and the other face a freeloading littermate?

Marty says Frank and Louie is friendly, affectionate, and likes to cuddle. He even walks on a leash and loves to ride in the car. His lifetime achievement of being the oldest Janus cat to survive will appear in the 2012 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records.

Cats Working wishes Frank and Louie at least another 12 happy and healthy years. It’s possible, since he must have 18 lives!

BONUS: Here’s more on other Janus kitties (including Frank and Louie when he was only 6). The others weren’t so lucky.

9 Responses to Happy Birthday to the Two-Faced Kitty

  1. jimmie chew says:

    we saw this for the first time today, so happy for the kitty, looks like he is have’n a good life. Happy happy B day to ’em!!!

  2. catsworking says:

    I’m sure Frank and Louie is a very nice cat, but I have to admit he kind of creeps me out. What if one head has insomnia? Does the other head fall asleep while the awake one stares at the wall?

    With eyes on both sides of his head, Frank and Louie can be looking east and west at the same time. But if one head spots a mouse first, does it just take off running and tell the other head, “Trust me!”?

  3. Britta says:

    Max –job well done on your second ( I think) post. Loved those first photos you shared—especially of you and Cole sorting things out. Your boss/caretaker poses some interesting questions and good points to ponder. Have to admit that in all my years of feline companionship, was not familiar with the official term “Janus” so thanks for the edification. Keep up the good work – it is clear you are a rising star in the Catsworking clan.

  4. Zappa says:

    Max,I smell a Pulitzer in your future!


  5. adele says:

    Max, another fine reporting job; I’m with Zappa and Britta — I think your journalistic future is a bright one. Karen was lucky to get such a talented dare I say prodigy.

    It’s a good thing Frank and Louie only have one brain, otherwise, I could see the heads in having heated arguments from time to time.

  6. MorganLF says:

    Jesus that freaks me out! Sorry but it reminds me of Chiller Theater.

  7. catsworking says:

    Morgan, I’m with you. That Frank head looks pissed off in every picture I’ve seen of him. He’s probably thinking, “Why did I have to be the head hanging off the side?”

    Thanks, everybody, for the praise, but I must admit I got a lot of help from my mom Karen on this piece. We had to look at a lot of different articles to put it all together. She told me, “Check the local papers, they will have the best scoop,” and she was right. As it turns out, my post has more complete details than any single story we found.

    I’m really liking this blogging and tweeting. So much more interesting than sitting in a cage trying to look adoptable.

  8. adele says:

    This is a test . . . Max, I hear my comments are going to spam again. Never fear, I’m a faithful reader, and I read all of your posts to Alice and Dorothy. They understand English, but they don’t read it; they’re impressed by your reading and writing ability, though.

  9. catsworking says:

    Hi, Adele! Your comment came through just fine. But 2 comments that WordPress should have known to send to spam were sitting here waiting for approval. I think the problem is with WordPress, not you. Please give my regards to Alice and Dorothy!

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