A two-faced cat called Venus might be the most famous cat in the world, but she may also boast very unique DNA on both sides of her body. She first came into the limelight some two years ago and since then has even got a Facebook page along with her own YouTube video. This gorgeous looking cat has also made appearances on many television shows.
Her strange yet extremely striking markings have made Venus a real global celebrity with one half of her face being completely black and the other half is a gorgeous rich ginger with tabby stripes. The black side of her face boasts a green eye while on the ginger side, her eye is the colour blue! But how has she got her extraordinary markings remains pretty much of a mystery that's baffling even the most experienced feline geneticists in the world.
Venus is thought to be a Chimera cat and according to mythology, chimera refers to a monster that's made up of many different animals. In cats, the name is used because they boast two different sorts of DNA which happens when two embryos fuse together while still growing in the mother's womb.
Chimera cats are not that rare with the majority of them being male tortoiseshells. When cats have a very distinctive mottled black and ginger coat, it's a sure sign they carry the extra X chromosome which makes them a chimera. However, female cats have two X chromosomes which means they don't need the extra X factor. In short, Venus may not be a chimera after all but one of the rarest cats in the world.
In order to find out whether Venus is a chimera cat or whether she truly is unique and therefore the rarest cat around, would involve carrying out genetic tests much as it's done on the CSI programme that's become so popular. Skin samples would be taken from each side of the cat's body to prove whether two DNAs are involved or not.
The fact that Venus has a blue eye is turning out to be another mystery with many geneticists believing that it was by pure luck that she ended up with her markings and different eye colourings. The fact her colours meet so symmetrically in the middle of her face and body is thought to be by pure chance.
However, it's the fact she has one blue eye that is the real mystery. There are specific cat breeds that boast blue eyes namely the Siamese or a cat that boasts a lot of white in their coats, but rarely a black or a ginger cat! So the fact that Venus has one blue eye is a complete mystery even to those people who have studied a cat's genetic make-up for most of their lives.
There are a few factors that contribute to a cat being born a chimera which are as follows but it's worth noting that people too can be born with the condition:
Nature has a brilliant way of producing some extraordinary and rare looking cats with the chimera being one of them. Venus has become a real global celebrity with her incredible markings making her one of the most recognised two-faced cats ever. Many chimera cats have markings that are so subtle they go unnoticed, but if a cat has very distinctive mottled black and ginger coat the chances are they do have the extra X factor that's needed for them to be a chimera cat!