Frank and Louie, a fluffy grey ragdoll, is not your typical cat. He likes to ride in cars, walk on a leash and he is two-faced. Yes, Frank and Louie is two-faced, but he is not insincere nor will he double-cross you. Frank and Louie is a Janus Cat.
A Janus cat is a feline with an extremely rare congenital disorder also known as craniofacial duplication. Craniofacial duplication is caused by a protein with an equally odd name: sonic hedgehog homolog. This protein causes a partial or entire face duplication on the head of the inflicted individual. Frank and Louie has one brain that controls three eyes, two ears, two noses and two mouths – on an otherwise perfectly formed body.
The term Janus cat was borrowed from Janus, the Roman God of beginnings and endings who was represented on Roman coins with two faces, one looking forward, one looking back.
Cats, for some reason, are prone to this rare disorder, as Frank and Louie is not the first, nor likely the last, Janus cat to be born. However, kittens born with this two-faced disorder rarely live more than four days as they often have problems nursing and are born with other complications. Frank and Louie is again unique because he just celebrated his twelfth birthday – and made it into the Guinness Book of World Records for being the longest lived Janus cat in the world.
Frank and Louie, however, almost only lived just one day. The day he was born, he was brought into a vet’s office to be euthanized. A vet tech on staff took pity on the ragdoll kitten, who was no bigger than her thumb, and decided to give the little guy a second chance, in spite of the vet’s warning that he would die within days.
A day went by, then another, then another and the two-faced kitten not only continued to survive, he also thrived.
Twelve years later and in perfect health, Frank and Louie is now a celebrity and a poster kitty for the Guinness Book of World Records.