Cats are usually said to have nine lives, but this kitten had two faces. It was dubbed the "Janus" cat after the two-faced Roman God of the same name.
Below is a video of the cat gently meowing from both of its mouths. The footage was originally found in Chongqing, China. Unfortunately after two days, it was reported that Janus had died due to its rare condition, known as diprosopus.
Now, this isn’t the first time anything like this has been seen before – a two-faced gray feline called “FrankenLouie” died in 2014 from cancer, at the age of 15. He made his mark in the Guinness World Records for being the longest ever surviving Janus cat, despite predictions that he would only live for a few days.
Cats born with diprosopus can be born with two mouths, four eyes, and even two noses. These kittens are essentially conjoined twins with one esophagus and one brain. The abnormality might occur during the embryonic stage of development, Leslie Lyons, from the University of Missouri’s Department of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery, told National Geographic in 2014. She said that "Janus cats may have too much of the sonic hedgehog (SHH) protein, which plays a role in forming an animal's face during development."
Lyons also noted that having two faces isn't unique to cats. "It can probably happen in most any mammal, vertebrate, [or] marsupial," she said.
She also suggested that FrankenLouie managed to survive because his esophagus was not doubled up. "In this particular case, one [side] didn't have a lower jaw or esophagus. If you had both sides of the face eating, I don't know what kind of complications that would cause. Initially the complications are going to be with the ability to eat and breathe properly," she said.
Sadly, due to their abnormality, there's a chance that helpless Janus kittens will be deserted or even killed by their own mothers after birth.