A kitten born with two faces is defying vets’ predictions to live a healthy and happy life. Bettie Bee’s owners were stunned when she was born in the Eastern Cape, South Africa, with two noses, two mouths and three eyes 11 days ago.
Her mother had given birth to a litter of three babies, yet only Bettie Bee suffers from the condition. Her condition meant it was difficult for her to nurse and her owners were worried about her starving to death. Vets advised that she should be put down as her condition would deteriorate as she aged.
But instead her owner sent her to a nearby cat rescuer to be looked after where she was fed with a tube, according to Newsweek. Both of Bettie Bee’s mouths are functional and the rescuer, who wants to remain anonymous, said the young kitten was doing well.
The unfortunate animal is a ‘Janus Cat’, so-called after the Roman god who had two faces. She appears to suffer from craniofacial duplication, or diprosopus. According to Newsweek a protein called Sonic Hedgehog Homolog (SHH) signals genes to control for facial width. The face becomes too wide or starts to duplicate if SHH acts abnormally. Animals with this condition usually die in the womb or shortly after birth – but Bettie Bee is thriving, according to the rescuer. She said: ‘She has been to the vet when she was one day old. We decided it’s best to take her back for scans etc when she is a bit bigger.’