Venus – the Chimera Cat
Meet Venus, a cat with 2 sides. Venus, a stray cat, sports exactly one half of her face as black with a yellow/green eye, and the other side of her face is ginger with a blue eye!
National Geographic have studied her and say that how this came to be is a mystery to them even. Naturally, it has to do with the genes of her lineage, which must have included a black cat and a ginger cat. But the exact mechanism still remains a mystery.
It is rare for a non-white cat to have odd eyes, though this does arise. Normally the odd eyes are caused by a dominant white gene interfering with the way the eye absorbs melanin. It is often believed all odd eyed cats are deaf. In fact many, though not all, white cats with blue eyes are deaf, and around 30% of odd-eyed cats suffer this problem. In the latter case deafness occurs on the side of the blue eye.
Inherited congenital (present from birth) deafness is seen almost exclusively in white coated cats, because of the genes they carry. The dominant white gene causes degeneration of the auditory apparatus of the inner ear and may affect one ear (unilateral) or both ears (bilateral), and is linked to blue eyes. THIS post here explains that, however, not all blue-eyed white cats are deaf.
The scientific word for having “odd eyes” is heterochromia iridis. One theory is that Venus is the result of a real, albeit relatively rare condition where two genetically distinct embryos merge in the womb.To find out if this is the case, genetic testing would be required says Leslie Lyons,a professor at the University of California. With samples of skin from each side of the cat, “we can do a DNA fingerprint—just like on CSI—and the DNA from one side of the body should be different than the other.”
But National Geographic says that – cat eyes are typically green or yellow, not blue. A blue-eyed cat is typically a Siamese or else a cat with a lot of white on them. Venus appears to have only a white patch on her chest, which to Lyons is not enough to explain the blue eye.”
One theory is that perhaps the black coloration was randomly activated in all the cells on one side of her face, while the orange coloration was activated on the other, and the two patches met at the midline of her body as she developed.
Either way, Venus the cat is a happy, healthy normal cat, and is adored by her South Florida owner, Christina, who in 2009 took her from a dairy farm in North Carolina, U.S.A. Venus even has her own Facebook page.
She is now an Ambassador for shelter cats at her own website, and if you love her that much, you can buy a soft plush Gund toy of her!
The You Tube video below shows Venus with her toy self. You can probably get the toy now from eBay.
Christina remembers she thought ‘Oh my God, that cat is so cute’ when her friend in North Carolina posted pictures of the two-faced cat on Facebook . “At the time I had an orange cat and a black cat — this looked like a combination of both of our cats” Christina said.
On a friend’s suggestion, Venus’ new owners named her Venus for “beauty and love.” Venus, chimera or not, is certainly spreading around the beauty and love now she has been made famous through the internet.
If you have a cat, dog, horse or bird that you love, and would like to see featured on this blog ( see the post about SHANDY, ambassador of “Fascinating Animals” under the “Our Animal Friends” section ) please contact me. Just use the “Contact Me” page to tell me your email address & then I will send you an email so you can reply with a brief description about your animal companion and a photo or two!