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Friday, September 30, 2011

Two-Faced Cat

File this one under "tales of the bizarre". 

A doctor we recently hired told me a few days ago about one of his old colleagues who had just seen a puppy with three hind legs and two vaginas.  He showed me a picture of the newborn, and it was truly odd-looking.  We began talking about other genetic abnormalities that were likely to go along with such deformities, and that the puppy had a low chance of survival.  Our discussion turned to similar deformities in other species, such as two-headed snakes.  No kidding!

When I was attending the University of Tennessee for my Master's degree I saw a two-headed python in their reptile research department, alive and well.  One head was the dominant one and tended to control the body, but sometimes the heads would fight over a prey item.  It was really strange, but interesting at the same time.

Then today I just came across a story on the front page of, about a two-faced cat who was 12 years old and still doing very well, thereby setting a Guinness World Record.  Click on the link above to see the story as well as a short video of the cat and his owner

I have to admit that even having seen many things in 14 years of veterinary practice, this one took me a bit by surprise.  I've seen photos and even preserved specimens of two-faced cattle, sheep, and other animals, but none of them survived long.  These types of deformities are usually so severe that life-expectancy for the unfortunate animals is measured in days from birth.  So it was quite strange to see a cat living a normal life-span with this condition and seemingly very happy and otherwise normal.

I'm not sure that I have a real point or comment about this cat.  But I certainly wanted to share!