Frank and Louie was the world’s oldest “Janus cat”. This is a cat with — what I would describe as suffering from — an horrific abnormality, namely two faces. I’m sure most often cats with this horrendous birth defect fail to survive very long but in this instance this cat lived an ordinary life and a normal lifespan. This is rare congenital disorder. It’s scientific name is diprosopus or craniofacial duplication.
Frank and Louie died yesterday, December 4, 2014. I don’t really want to dwell on that. Clearly he was looked after very well by Martha “Marty” Stevens. I’m sure that nobody could have done better.
We don’t know how Frank and Louie felt throughout his life. I’m sure he showed no signs of discomfort but we still don’t know how he felt throughout his life. We don’t know how it affected him. We shouldn’t be sure that he was unaffected and neither should we be sure that he felt okay.
We do know that people are fascinated with two-faced cats which made him a bit of a star but I do believe that I’m not the only person who has mixed emotions about cats like this.
What makes me a bit queasy about the whole thing it feels like we are voyeurs peeping at a freak show. It is slightly embarrassing. I think it’s a good idea that a cat suffering from the sort of genetic defect should be well looked after and cared for as long as possible but I don’t think it’s a good idea that Guinness World Records should be involved in listing him as the world’s oldest Janus cat. That’s just my opinion and I know people will disagree with me.
His caretaker would love to look after a cat like this again. I don’t think you should be so eager to do it. I think we should feel sorry and that sad that a cat had to live his life with such a defect and we should hope that normal cats like him aren’t born again.
It would be nice to know what sort of special provisions Martha made when caring for him. I’m thinking about how Frank and Louie ate. Which mouth did he eat through and were there any anatomical defects within the mouth and throat, for example, which placed an obligation upon the caretaker to provide certain types of food and/or avoid other types of food?
Were there any other anatomical defects with which this cat was suffering? Perhaps somebody can help me in respect of these questions. My research indicates that cats with diprosopus have internal defects too. How did these affect him? Did they make him uncomfortable or put him in pain?
Note: Frank and Louie was brought to Tufts where Martha was working to be euthanized. We know therefore that this cat was bred, which indicates that he is possibly a purebred cat. He was solid grey with short fur. The best known cat with this appearance is the Chartreux, a rare cat. He was more likely to have been a blue Brit SH if he was purebred.