Photo Credit: Steven Senne, AP
An article, by Stefan Sirucek, in National Geographic says that the world’s longest lived two-faced cat, or Janus cat, died this week at his home in Massachusetts. The cat, named Frank and Louie, lived to the ripe old age of 15.
Named for the Roman god Janus, who was usually portrayed as having two faces, domestic cats with two faces are extremely rare, noted Leslie Lyons of the University of Missouri's Department of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery, who specializes in feline genetics. (Related: "R.I.P. Duecy: The Kitten With Two Faces.")
The animals also generally don't live very long due to health problems related to their deformity-making Frank and Louie's 15-year run that much more impressive, Lyons said.The central story here, I would argue, is that a generically malformed cat was able to, through the kindness of its human overseer, live for a long and I would think good life. That a strong human-animal bond was established is apparent in this relationship. I think it is important to point out that humans have always shown the capacity for compassion and goodness; sometimes it takes animals with deformities to bring out the best in us.
Janus cats occur when one embryo either splits to form twins, or two embryos early in development don't quite properly fuse together, Lyons said.
Frank and Louie was a ragdoll cat, and while cats-both purebred and otherwise-can fall prey to a number of genetic problems, Lyons doesn't think breeding plays a role in the occurrence of Janus cats, since the condition is so rare.
"We know there's a variety of genetic mechanisms that could cause it," though only DNA testing could pinpoint the exact cause.
You can read more at [NatGeo]