Saturday, October 18, 2014

Now This Is A Crazy Cat...!

I like to think that I have some pretty unique cats, on account of them being smart enough to choose me as their care taker. Then I saw this article...!

This guy is very pretty, in a strange kind of way. Makes me wish I had one, but I already have 5. Still I find this one to be attractive and strange. It should fit right in at the Hermit's, don't you think?

Venus the Two-Faced Cat a Mystery
Famous feline may have different DNA on each side of her body.

Venus the two-faced cat is currently the most famous feline on the planet.

The three-year-old tortoiseshell has her own Facebook page and a YouTube video that's been viewed over a million times, and appeared on the Today Show last week.

One look at this cat and you can understand why: One half is solid black with a green eye—the other half has typical orange tabby stripes and a blue eye.

How does a cat end up looking like that? Leslie Lyons, a professor at the University of California, Davis, who studies the genetics of domestic cats said she's never seen a cat exactly like Venus.

"She is extremely, extremely rare," Lyons said. "But you can explain it and you can understand it."

Is Venus a Chimera?

Many reports about Venus refer to the cat as a "chimera." In mythology, a chimera is a mishmash monster made up of parts of different animals. A feline chimera is a cat whose cells contain two types of DNA, caused when two embryos fuse together.

Among cats, "chimeras are really not all that rare," Lyons said. In fact, most male tortoiseshell cats are chimeras. The distinctively mottled orange and black coat is a sign that the cat has an extra X chromosome.

But female cats, said Lyons, already have two X chromosomes so they can sport that coat without the extra X. That means Venus is not necessarily a chimera.

To find out would require genetic testing, said Lyons. 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."

If Venus isn't actually a chimera, then what would explain her amazing face?

"Absolute luck," Lyons said. One theory: 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.

Cat fanciers who are transfixed by Venus's split face may be missing the real story: her single blue eye. 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," she explained.

Venus appears to have only a white patch on her chest, which to Lyons is not enough to explain the blue eye.

"She is a bit of a mystery."

Excuse me? A bit of a mystery? I'd say that is a BIG understatement! But then, what do I know?

Coffee out on the patio this morning. We'll have coffee before it gets too warm out.


Anonymous said...

It happens in humans too! Here's a link to a special case I read about some time ago but I can't find that article but she's mentioned here too beneath the small headline "Recognition of Chimerism".

She got lots of problems until they found out that she was a human chimera, they thought she had kidnapped her children :-)

Have a great day!

Chickenmom said...

Strange looking cat, but I bet it was cute as a kitten! I'll bring a box of Lorna Doones to go with your good coffee.

Mamahen said...

Wow....I thought our Z kitty was different with the top half of his head, face, and nose black and the rest white...Love this guy!

JO said...

beautiful face no matter what the cause.

I'm ready for some coffee on the patio this morning with friends

edifice rex said...

My grandmother had a cat that was very similar. We called her 2-Face! (the cat not grandma) She was a torty all over but her face was split precisely down the middle with one half very dark, not black, and the other half very light. Her eyes were the same color though.

Dizzy-Dick said...

That sure is very unique.

Linda said...