Cat born with rare two-faced deformity thriving despite condition

By Ben Hooper

Dec. 27 (UPI) -- A kitten born in South Africa with a rare condition that caused it to grow two faces is beating the odds by thriving, its caretaker said.

The cat, dubbed Bettie Bee, was born earlier this month with three eyes, two noses and two mouths due to a rare congenital condition called craniofacial duplication. Felines with the condition are often called "Janus cats" after the two-faced Roman god.


The owner of the mother cat contacted a local rescuer who had experience with special needs cats.

"She was born on December 12 and I went to fetch her the very next morning," the rescuer told The Dodo. "I took her to the vet that day and his first opinion was to put her down. But she was, at 1 day old then, very feisty. We wanted to give her a chance. And she's been thriving."

The rescuer said Bettie Bee initially had trouble feeding, but she found success with tube-feeding the kitten and has since found that the feline can eat with both of her mouths.

Bettie "can feed either mouth, both are functional, both lead to the stomach," the rescuer told Newsweek.


The woman said Bettie is thriving, which is good news as many Janus cats suffer brain deformities or have trouble breathing or eating.

"She is thriving, growing like a normal kitten," she said. "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."

Most cats with the condition live very short lives, but a famous Janus cat named Frankenlouie reached the age of 15 before his death in 2014.

"She's amazing -- I still look at her and can't believe she's real," the rescuer said. "I'm taking it day by day and hope she will continue to thrive and be with myself and my husband for many years. It's wonderful to see how many people are rooting for her."

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