Happy Birthday to the Two-Faced Kitty

September 30, 2011

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.

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