PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN/CNN) - An Oregon family got a rare surprise when their pregnant cat gave birth to a kitten with two faces.
When the King family woke up Wednesday to a new litter of kittens, they found one of the six babies had two faces, including four eyes, two noses and two mouths.
The family named the rare kitten Biscuits and Gravy, or just Biscuit for short. They’re not sure but believe the little one could also be the runt of the litter because it seems smaller than its siblings.
Kyla King reached out to the family’s veterinarian to learn more about Biscuit’s condition, how to care for it and its odds of survival. She learned there wasn’t much to be done medically for the tiny kitten.
All she could do was make it comfortable and help it eat. She is now bottle-feeding Biscuit because it was having trouble nursing. The unique kitten has a special talent: it can meow and eat at the same time.
“It doesn’t really know how to nurse properly because it has two mouths, so I’ve been trying to feed it,” Kyla King said. “I’m gonna do the best I can, but these animals don’t usually live too long.”
Kyla King also keeps the kitten warm by tucking it into her shirt and even sleeps with it through the night in a separate room from her husband, BJ King, who is allergic to cats.
Biscuit appears to be doing well, but the Kings say they’re taking the situation day-by-day and keeping a realistic outlook.
“We’re not super optimistic, but it does seem pretty lively and has an appetite and seems to be doing pretty well,” BJ King said.
Cats with two faces are known as “Janus” cats after the Roman god Janus, who is often depicted with two faces in mythology. They suffer from a rare congenital defect called disprosopus, or cranial duplication. Most don’t live longer than a day.
But the longest surviving Janus cat was a male named Frank and Louie, who lived for 15 years, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.
The Kings plan to enjoy whatever time they have with Biscuit, whose mother is the only tame barn cat that lives on their farm and was also bottle-fed as a kitten by Kyla King.