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Venus (The Two Faced Cat) is a feline chimera, a rare type of cats whose cells contain two types of DNA, that became internet famous in August 2012, mainly due to its striking appearance of one side being black-coloured with a green eye and the other side being orange-coloured with a blue eye.
Pictures and videos of Venus were uploaded on August 14th, 2012 Facebook page titled “Venus’s Page – Amazing Chimera cat” and YouTube channel VenusMommy (shown below, left). The cat quickly spread across Facebook the animal photo blogosphere, even leading to discussions (shown below, right) regarding the authenticity of the photographs and extensive coverage from news media outlets and scientific explanations of chimera cats in the blogosphere.
While the owner of Venus remains anonymous, but the name of the cat is said to have been inspired by an astrological essay titled “Venus: The Two Faced Goddess,” which includes the story of Venus whose side facing the Sun alternates in between day and night.
During the last days of August, the cat continued to gain viral momentum on YouTube with more than a million views as well as thousands of likes on Facebook every day. Pictures of the cat were also picked up by internet culture sites like Laughing Squid, I Can Has Cheezbuger and BuzzFeed, as well as online news publications including NBC Today (shown below), International Business Times, People and Toronto Sun. On August 23rd, the cat also appeared on the frontpage of Reddit with more than 15,100 upvotes after a picture was submitted to /r/pics by Redditor AdribbleofInk.
Medical Condition of the Cat
The online popularity of the cat was even mentioned by nature-related and scientific publications National Geographic and The Smithsonian, which explained the DNA composition of the two-faced cat through the words of Leslie Lyons, a professor who studies the genetics of cats at the University of California, Davis.
“She is extremely, extremely rare, but you can explain it and you can understand it.” 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.
“Absolute luck,” 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."
Smithsonian Blog – The Genetics Behind Venus, the Mysterious Two-Faced Cat
International Business Times – Two-Faced Cats And Piebald Peacocks: The Genetics Behind Chimeras And Mosaics
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