When a mother cat in Eastern Cape, South Africa, gave birth to three healthy kittens on Dec. 12, 2017, one of them was born a little bit abnormal. When the owner saw this very special kitty, it was clear that the kitten would require very special care.
The owner knew she needed to find someone able to take care of this kitten, so she contacted a local rescuer who had experience taking care of special-needs cats.
When she arrived to pick up the kitten, she saw that the kitty had three eyes, two noses, and two mouths. Meet Bettie Bee.
Bettie Bee was born with diprosopus, also known as craniofacial duplication, an extremely rare congenital disorder where parts of the face are duplicated on the head. Cats with this condition are known as Janus cats. This rare condition doesn’t just occur among cats but is also common in dogs, pigs, and sheep too.
6 days today
Posted by Bettie Bee on Monday, December 18, 2017
“She was born on December 12, and I went to fetch her the very next morning,” Bettie Bee’s rescuer told The Dodo. “I took her to the vet that day, and his first opinion was to put her down. But she was, at 1 day old then, very feisty. We wanted to give her a chance. And she’s been thriving.”
The kitten started to open her eyes and crawl around the bed when she was 6 days old.
“Middle two eyes are merged into one big eye,” her rescuer told Meow.com.
Bettie Bee was able to eat through a tube from either mouth since both were connected to her stomach.
Her rescuer was inundated with messages from people, so she created a Facebook page for Bettie Bee, where she posts regular updates on the kitten’s growth. The support Bettie Bee is receiving has been tremendous. Here are a few comments from her Facebook page:
“She’s amazing—I still look at her and can’t believe she’s real,” Bettie Bee’s rescuer said. “I’m taking it day by day and hope she will continue to thrive and be with myself and my husband for many years. It’s wonderful to see how many people are rooting for her.”
At 10 days old, Bettie Bee was doing amazing; the kitten weighed 200 grams (approx. 7 ounces).
Bettie Bee was not the first cat known to have diprosopus. A cat named Frankenlouie lived to be 15 years old, and in 2012, he was named by the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest-surviving Janus cat.
12 days today, 227g and 2 normal eyes just starting to open
Frankenlouie was going to be euthanized but was rescued by Martha Stevens.
“He was brought in, at a day-old, to be euthanized, and I just offered to take him home and try to save him and they told me not to get my hopes up too much because usually they don’t survive,” Martha told The Telegraph. Oh how Frankenlouie proved them all wrong!
Unfortunately, Bettie Bee didn’t survive.
She passed away on Dec. 29, 2017, after battling pneumonia, according to a Facebook post.
“For 16 days I gave my all and so did she, I would do it all over again, she deserved to have a chance at life but sadly it was not meant to be,” her rescuer wrote.