|Frank and Louie; photo by Steven Senne, AP|
Usually, when a Janus cat or any other animal with two faces is born, it doesn't live long because it also has a bunch of other health problems. But Frank and Louie turned 12 years old on September 8, 2012, which is the oldest that any Janus cat has ever been. And because of this, he got to be in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Another word for the "Janus cat" condition is diprosopus, from a Greek word that means "two-faced." Or you can also call it craniofacial duplication. This is not the same thing as being a conjoined twin. Animals that have diprosopus are born that way because of a protein called the sonic hedgehog homolog (SHH), named after a video game character called Sonic the Hedgehog. I think this might mean that certain scientists have spent way too much time playing video games, but no one asked my opinion, as usual.
|A Janus kitten named Harvey Dent;|
sadly, he only lived a couple of days.
Most animals with diprosopus have had other congenital problems that kept them from staying alive. There was a pig named Ditto who had the condition, and he lived to be an adult. But he got pneumonia because he breathed through one muzzle while eating with the other one. So the food went down into his lungs and that's how he got pneumonia and died.
|Janus Cat by Felesya; daily-cat.com|
|Frank and Louie going for a walk;|
photo by Steven Senne, AP
Anyway, that's the story of Frank and Louie. I'm happy that they made it into the Guinness Book, but I don't think I would want to live with a cat who can look at me from all different sides of his face, because that would be a little creepy!