cat in owners hand
Unsplash | Yerlin Matu

A Cat Born With Two Mouths Defied All Odds To Stay Alive

Many times in life, the most unexpected things can happen and throw us for a loop. When our pets become pregnant, we know we can expect them to deliver quite a few babies. Cats and dogs often have litters of puppies and kittens, multiple at a time. Then, we're in the glory of newborn baby cats and dogs to cuddle, love, and play with.

Recently, however, one family in Thailand had the most unexpected happen during their cat's delivery.

kittens
Unsplash | The Lucky Neko

Anuwat, from Thailand, was there to support his cat when she was giving birth to kittens. After she had her first kitten, he noticed she was struggling with the second.

Anuwat took the cat to the local animal hospital.

veterinary surgery sign
Unsplash | Matt Seymour

In order to get his cat the best care, he went to a local vet hospital in his town. His cat ended up needing a c-section in order to deliver the next kitten.

When he saw the kitten, he was shocked.

Janus Cat
PEOPLE | PEOPLE

When the vet delivered the kitten, Anuwat could not believe that the kitten had two faces. The cat literally had two noses and two mouths, a sporadic and unique occurrence in cats.

This type of cat is called a "Janus" cat.

Janus roman statue
Unsplash | K. Mitch Hodge

The two-faced Roman god, Janus, inspired the name of the two-faced cat. Janus cats, however, have a lifespan of only just one day. It is very rare that a Janus cat lives to see more than a few days.

The cause of this stems from excess protein.

DNA strand
Unsplash | Sangharsh Lohakare

Janus cats are born with two faces because of an excess of a specific protein called "Sonic Hedgehog," which is actually named after the character itself. The protein controls the central nervous system, limbs, digits, and many other parts of the body.

Janus doesn't only happen in cats.

birds flying in the sky
Unsplash | Gauravdeep Singh Bansal

Not only can cats be born with the Janus condition, but it can also happen to other mammals as well. Humans, other animals, and birds can also undergo this type of malformation. However, most are stillborn and do not survive.

The owner thought the cat would surely die.

Janus cat
Pet Helpful | Pet Helpful

The kitten, born with such an abnormality, was told that it would definitely die shortly in its life. However, Anuwat was trying to care for the cat as much as possible to keep it alive.

Anuwat said he was up all hours of the night caring for the kitten.

kitten biting on other kitten ear
Unsplash | Prasad Panchakshari

"I’ve hardly slept at all since it was born because it cannot hold its head up and needs constant attention. It’s as much responsibility as having a human baby," Anuwat shared. Having a newborn pet is definitely like having a baby, especially one with special needs like this kitten.

The kitten, however, fought hard to say alive.

kitten born with janus
CNN | CNN

With Anuwat's care and support, the kitten was actually thriving and was able to drink milk from both of its mouths—a true miracle, as the kitten was not supposed to live more than one day.

At first, Anuwat planned to give the kittens away.

kittens in a basket
Unsplash | The Lucky Neko

"At first I thought I would give the kittens to someone who had taken care of such things before because I have no experience. But thinking about it, no one has ever taken care of a two-faced cat before," he shared.

However, Anuwat decided to keep the kitten.

kitten under a blanket
Unsplash | Kate Stone Matheson

After seeing how the kitten began to thrive and drink milk, showcasing strength, Anuwat decided to keep the kitten for now and hopefully, keep the kitten alive for a longer period of time.

And, for some hope, the cat who lived the longest with Janus lived 15 years.

Janus Kitten
Sky News | Sky News

Frank and Louie, sometimes call Frankenlouie, was born in Massachusetts in 1999 and was told he would die shortly after he was born. However, he ended up living until he was 15, dying. of cancer in 2014.