Animals

This Kitten Was Born With A Rare ‘Janus’ Condition And Has Two Faces

Look closely, can you see her two faces?

The internet loves cat photos—so much so that there are entire sub-genres of cat photos online, and even a cat selfie app—but there’s one cat photo making the rounds that’s really something else.

Meet Bettie Bee. This incredibly unique kitten is known as a “Janus cat,” which means she has two faces.

Although Bettie Bee looks like something out of a science fiction movie, or something someone very talented created in Photoshop, she’s real. But her condition is exceedingly rare.

Bettie Bee was born as one of a litter of three to a normal house cat in Eastern Cape, South Africa.

The owner of Bettie Bee’s mother took her to a nearby rescuer of at-risk kittens to ensure she would receive special care, since cats with this condition have special needs.

They can find it difficult to nurse, for example, putting them at risk for starvation.

Bettie Bee is being tube-fed and can feed from either mouth, both of which are functional and lead to the stomach.

Janus cats are so-called because of the Roman god, Janus, who was known for having two faces.

The condition is a result of an overabundance of the protein sonic hedgehog homolog (SHH), which makes facial features wider and, in the case of Janus cats, leads to the duplication of facial structures. The technical term for the condition is “Diprosopus.”

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Despite the challenging condition, Bettie Bee seems to be coping well.

“She is thriving, growing like a normal kitten,” her rescuer, who has chosen to remain anonymous, told Newsweek. “She has been to the vet when she was one day old. We decided it’s best to take her back for scans, etc. when she is a bit bigger.”

This is good news, because Janus cats often die in the womb, or shortly after birth. In addition to feeding difficulties, these cats often suffer from brain abnormalities, other organ abnormalities and breathing difficulties.

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However, Bettie Bee is not the only cat with this condition to beat the odds. A famous two-faced cat known as Frank and Louie lived to be 15 years old.

Here’s hoping that Bettie Bee has a similarly long and prosperous life! If you’d like to follow her progress, check out her Facebook page (which appears to be undergoing some maintenance at the moment—bookmark it and check back soon!).

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