'Both mouths move whenever I feed it': Kitten born with two faces

Kate Ng
A kitten with two faces, named Biscuits and Gravy, was born in Oregon: CBS News

A rare, two-faced kitten has been born in a litter of six kittens in Albany, Oregon.

The kitten, whose condition is caused by a birth defect known as diprosopus or cranial duplication, was born on Wednesday to owners Kyla and BJ King.

The Kings told local news station KOIN-TV that the kitten – named Biscuits and Gravy, or just Biscuits – can eat and breathe from its two separate noses and mouths.

Ms King said one face would meow while the other was eating at the same time. When she discovered Biscuits, she messaged her husband and said they had “6-1/3 kitty cats now”.

“Both mouths move whenever I feed it, they both do the sucking motion,” she told the station.

Felines with the rare condition are also known as Janus cats, after the ancient Roman god of time and duality, who is often depicted as having two faces to look into both the future and the past.

Janus cats have a very short life expectancy due to complications related to the deformity, although the longest-lived Janus cat, Frank and Louie, lived up until the age of 15.

Due to the deformity, Biscuits’ head is too large for it to lift on its own, which could lead to further complications.

Mr King said: “We’re not super optimistic but [the kitten] does seem pretty lively, and it has an appetite and seems to be doing pretty well.

“We have a ton of requests for this kitten and all the siblings, but we’re not planning on giving this kitten away,” he added.

According to National Geographic, there are a “variety of genetic mechanisms that could cause” the cranial duplication defect. The condition is not limited to felines and can happen to other mammals, vertebrates or marsupials, said Leslie Lyons, a specialist in feline genetics.