Kitten born with two faces in Arkansas

A Harrison, Ark. pet owner has a cat that just gave birth to kittens, one of which appears to have two heads.
Published: Aug. 19, 2022 at 4:01 PM MDT
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HARRISON, Ark. (KY3/Gray News) - A pet owner in Arkansas has a cat that just gave birth to baby kittens, one of which was born with two faces.

“I went to go do laundry, I’d seen my cat was like meowing, and then all of the sudden babies started coming out, and I started yelling for my husband,” said Ariel Contreras, the owner of the kitten. “This is the second one, so whenever he came out, my husband said, ‘Honey, it has two heads!’ And I went, ‘No way!’”

Harvey is named after the fictional Batman villain Two Face, aka Harvey Dent. A Janus cat is a rare genetic mutation caused by excess protein production while in the womb.

“It has one of everything except for the extra skull,” said Dr. Tim Addis, a veterinarian with Alley Cat Animal Rescue. “Its odds of making it are just as good as its siblings’ if you’re feeding it with a bottle.”

Addis has more than 60 years of experience working with animals and says he’s never seen a mutation so rare.

“Well, they seem to be operating together, you can feed either mouth, and it takes nourishment through either mouth. It’s really different,” he said.

And different is right. Janus cats are extremely rare, with only a few known cases in the modern era.

“It’s actually bigger than the other ones, and it’s doing great. It’s absolutely doing great,” Conteras said.

Although there is little data, Janus cats historically have a low survival rate. Many are unable to live past the first 12 hours. But Harvey may already be defying the odds, born Wednesday and showing all signs of a healthy newborn kitten.

“There was one that made it 12 years and one that made it 15 years, so I’m really praying this one makes it that long, and we will do whatever it takes,” Contreras said.

“Well, the little kitten has the chance,” Addis said. “What the odds are, I don’t know. They’re hard to raise. But, it will make it if the Lord’s willing.”