WORCESTER, MASS. (AP) – Frank and Louie the cat were born with two faces, two mouths, two noses, three eyes, and a lot of uncertainty about their future.
The blue-eyed rag-doll cat has made it into the 2012 edition of Guinness World Records as the longest-surviving member of a group known as Janus cats, named after a Roman god with two faces, 12 years after Marty Stevens saved him from being k.i.lled.
“Every day is a blessing; I’m 12 years old, and standard life expectancy for people with this disease is one to four days,” Stevens said. “So he’s one step ahead of the game; every day, I just thank God I still have him.”
Frank and Louie’s breeder had taken him to Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, where Stevens was working at the time, to be k.i.lled when he was just a day old. Stevens volunteered to drive him home, but she was advised not to get her hopes up. Janus cats virtually seldom survive, and the majority have congenital .d.e.fo.r.m.i.ti.es, such as a cleft pa.lat.e, which makes nursing difficult and frequently causes them to starve or get milk in their lungs and di.e of pn.eu.m.onia.
Stevens fed the cat with feeding tubes for three months, attempting to keep him from choking on food that was going down two mouths. She didn’t have to worry about him choking because Frank and Louie ate with only one of his mouths.
The two faces of Frank and Louie share a difficult connection. Both nostrils operate, but one mouth lacks a lower jaw and isn’t linked to his one esophagus, preventing him from eating with it. Stevens only found this when the cat had an MRI later in life. Only two of the animal’s three eyes can see. When his other eyes are closed, the center one cannot blink and appears to be looking at Frank and Louie.
Frank and Louie appear unconcerned about his illness and have acquired a pleasant demeanor.
Stevens describes him as “extremely, very relaxed back, not frightened of people, quite sociable, and he’s actually more of a dog than a cat.”