The first time you look at Frank and Louie the two-faced cat from Massachusetts, you do a double-take, thinking your eyes are playing a trick on you. Photographs and video of the famous feline look like they have been altered, with two images superimposed upon each other. Stare at the pictures long enough and you feel like you are going cross-eyed. But this two-faced cat is a real creature, known as a “Janus cat,” and is actually pretty cute in his strange way.
Dr. Karl Shuker, a British zoologist, first coined the term based on the Roman god Janus, who had two faces. Frank and Louie has a rare congenital condition that has caused him to have three eyes, two noses and two mouths on his two faces. Of these, only the two outer eyes and one mouth are actually functional. One brain controls them all. Most of these cats do not make it to adulthood, let alone 12 years of age. This cat was fortunate enough to have been brought to a kind-hearted veterinarian, known only as Marty, who could not bring herself to euthanize the young kitten. Instead Marty rescued the poor kitten, provided needed surgeries to ensure survival, and gave him a lot of love.
A lot of attention is given to the beloved two-faced cat, who actually loves to ride in the car and walk on a leash like a dog. He lives with numerous other animals, including a dog, a parrot who sings, other birds, and another cat. He is also fortunate to have not dealt with many of the complications affecting Janus cats. Marty has taken painstaking care of him to ensure his survival, and possibly hers. This miracle creature’s longevity is a testament to those who care for animals of all kinds, regardless of their perceived worth.