Sign Up for Cat Talk
Get the latest health and behavior news and
advice from the veterinarians at Tufts University.

Feature February 2020 Issue

Two-Faced

Frank and Louie, a two-faced cat owned by Tufts veterinary technician Marty Stevens, lived till the age of 15.

Cats with two faces are incredibly rare, and they usually die within days of being born. But the latest Janus cat, as they are known, is doing fine. Now six months old, the black beauty (beauties?) is doing well at her California home. She has been aptly named Duo.

A Janus cat is not conjoined twins — identical twins whose embryos fail to fully separate soon after conception. Rather, it is a single cat who in utero has too much of a protein called sonic hedgehog homolog (named after a video game character). That causes the face to widen, which in turn leads to the growth of an extra face.

The longest living two-faced cat on record was Frank and Louie, sometimes referred to as Frankenlouie. He lived to age 15 under the loving care of a former Tufts veterinary technician.

Comments (2)

Why are you referring to her as a black beauty? Duo is colorpoint.

Posted by: Laurie Bobskill | February 4, 2020 10:15 PM    Report this comment

I was surprised seeing the two faced kitty. I am glad to hear Frankenlouie had a long life. I hope Duo is so blessed.
I just saw Franenkitten a few weeks ago that has two sets of ears even though the forward ones are not able to hear. He is rather cut.
I hope all goes well with these kitties.

Posted by: LucyQ | February 3, 2020 7:58 PM    Report this comment

New to Tufts Catnip? Register for Free!

Already Registered?
Log In