It’s safe to say that veterinarians are used to seeing unusual features on the animals they treat every day on the job. But this California vet got the surprise of his life when he came by a unique kitten that a friend’s cat just gave birth to.
Encountering a rare kitten
A few months ago, Dr. Ralph Tran was introduced to a special two-faced kitten. It all started while he was on his way to make a cross-country move from the East Coast to San Diego, California when he got an interesting text from a friend.
His friend informed him that her cat just had a “Janus kitten.” Unfortunately, the mother has already rejected the poor all-black cat perhaps because of its unusual condition. This means that it now had to rely on someone else to care for it to live.
Luckily, Dr. Ralph has some experience caring for neonatal kittens and even agreed to take in the kitten. Not to mention, he already has his own brood of eight cats and some birds as pets, so the new addition would be in good company.
The reason behind the condition
But Dr. Ralph was still nervous about taking care of the kitten, who he has now named Duo.
He told People:
“I really didn’t know much about what condition she had. I assumed she was a typical Siamese twin, but she’s not.”
Unlike Siamese twins, who are conjoined via one body part, Duo has a rare congenital defect called craniofacial duplication. This means that she only has one head but two faces, which are both fully operational, as the vet observed.
According to Dr. Ralph, Duo can meow and breathe using either of her two mouths and two noses.
Although her condition is quite rare, another two-faced cat has previously made the news as well. Also referred to as Frank and Louie was a Janus cat who became famous because of how long it lived.
He even holds the Guinness Book of World Records for being the world’s oldest two-faced cat. He was born in 1999 and lived to reach the ripe old age of fifteen before passing away in 2014.
It’s worth noting that most cats born with the defect only live for a few days. That’s why Dr. Ralph is really pulling out all the stops to care for Duo, who has now settled in with him in his new home in California.
Caring for Duo
Because of her condition, the unique cat could originally only be fed via a tube, and later a syringe, as she doesn’t like to drink from the bottle. She’s also had to deal with a series of infections, which the doctor has since treated.
However, Dr. Ralph has also discovered that Duo’s eyes are a problem because they are a frequent source of infection and irritation. Thus, they might need to be removed once she’s grown more.
But despite all this, Duo seems to be finally adjusting to her life with Dr. Ralph and his other pets.
He told People:
“It was roughly around eight weeks of age, maybe nine weeks, when she started recognizing the other cats, toys, and me. Now she runs [over] when she sees me.”
Watch this video and see little Duo in action:
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