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Cat with two faces

November 2007

Meet the cat with two faces. The cat, called LilBit (short for "A Little Bit of love") was born seven months ago. This incredible kitty has two mouths, two noses and four eyes (The middle two now seem to be merging into one.) Since one face can go to sleep while the other remains awake, it is quite possible that LilBit has two brains as well. LilBit was born in Arizona, in the United States, under his human's computer table. His mother Lil'pine also produced two normal brothers and sisters at the same time. LilBit was rushed to the local rescue centre where the vet gave him almost no chance of survival. They wanted to put the kitten to sleep at once, but the owner objected. She was determined that the kitten should be given the every chance to make it to adulthood. LilBit was fed every 15 minutes from an eye-dropper first with baby milk and eventually more solid food. At two months of age the growing kitten could be moved to proper cat food. Now over half a year later and LilBit is thriving and there seems no reason he should not live to a ripe old age. (Would he count as having nine lives? Twelve?) LilBit had trouble learning to walk straight, and had to be given premature baby nappys (daipers) while he got the hang of making it to the litter tray. Since no x-rays have been done to count his brains (the owner thinks the experience would be too upsetting for the kitten) no-one is sure if this is because the two brains have yet to sort who controls what. LilBit's human says she has seen the kitten sneeze with one nose and not the other.

Two faced cats are literally a more than million-to-one occurrence. It is caused by cells dividing wrongly in the womb, a so called 'fissions error' - 'Diprosopus' if you want the exact scientific name. This happens fairly often with chickens, cats, sheep and cows, though much less often with humans. Almost all kittens which are born with this condition do not survive for more than a few days. Most die because they cannot nurse or they are rejected by their mother. But LilBit is by no means the only cat with two faces to have survived kittenhood.

Another cat with two faces lives in Millbury, Massachussets, and is now six years old. This cat is named Frank and Louie so each face can have its own name. Frank and Louie has two mouths, two noses and two working eyes. A third eye in the middle is not functional. Only one side is connected to oesophagus (the Franky side) which means that the cat can only use this side to feed. Unlike LilBit who may have two functional brains, Frank and Louie has definitely one brain. Frank and Louie had to use up two of his seven lives very early in his life. When he was one day old he was brought to the vet surgery to be euthanized. Lucky for him, this was the surgery where a woman called Marty worked as a nurse.

Marty asked if the kitten could be spared and said she would adopt him. Marty knew that in trying to keep the kitten alive, she was working against all the odds. (Marty says when she looked for information 'all the reports I found were autopsy cases'.) The kitten had to be fed every two hours so Frank and Louie went everywhere with Marty for the first three months. In those days a shoe box was his mobile home. All Marty's friends at the clinic warned her not to get too attached to the fragile kitten she was nursing, but day by day Frank and Louie slowly got stronger. He is now six years old and has no obvious medical problems. He is a very easy going cat, partly because he was so much around humans in the first months of his life. He is also on excellent terms with Marty's other cats as well as her dog, which developed a bond with Frank and Louie from the moment Marty brought the kitten home.

Frank and Louie turned 12 years old on 8th September 2011. It was a milestone celebrated around the world with inclusion in the Guinness World Records book. (According to the Guiness World Records website, Frank and Louie actually reached that milestone when he turned 6 years old around the time when this article was originally written.)


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