Cats often get a bad rap for being sneaky and two-faced, but 11-month-old Narnia is quite literally a two-faced cat. An unknown genetic condition has left the adorable British Shorthair with a face perfectly split between grey and black, making him an internet darling.
Breeder Stéphanie Jimenez established the Chatterie de la Grâce, described on its website as “a small family breeding British longhair and shorthair[s],” after being blown away at a 2010 cat show. Narnia is one of their youngest grown cats, born on March 28th of last year. The exotic British Shorthair has a one-of-a-kind (or, perhaps, two-of-a-kind) face, split evenly between black and grey. While several sources (including People: Pets) have referred to Narnia as a girl, he is one of the breeder’s three boys, including Hangel (the breeder’s first cat) and Lover.
While Jimenez has been taking photos of the darling boy since he was only days old, he just caught the attention of the internet recently, after animal photographer Jean-Michel Labat shot a session with him for Caters News Agency. Since the shoot, traffic to the Chaterie’s Facebook page has shot up, and the page now boasts over 4,000 followers.
The cause of Narnia’s unusual face is still unknown, but it has been popularly speculated that he’s a chimera. A chimera has two different kinds of DNA, the result of two embryos fusing in utero. Which means that, if Narnia were a chimera, he would be his own fraternal twin. And Narnia isn’t the first famous two-faced cat to win the internet’s hearts and minds. Quimera, a black and orange cat with two different-colored eyes, went viral in November last year. And, before her, the two-faced Venus became famous in 2012.
Not everyone believes that these cats are true chimeras. Skeptics like Columbia University professor Virginia Papaioannou believe that these famous two-faced cats are actually mosaics. “In a mosaic, there’s only one individual and it just happens to have different genetic components active in its cells,” she told the New Republic when talking about Quimeras late last year. “All female mammals have two X-chromosomes,” explained the professor. “In a cat, one gene for fur color is located on the X chromosome. And in any female, expression of all the genes that are on the X chromosome will be ‘mosaic’ —that is, half of them will express one version of the gene (e.g., black fur) and half will express the other version of the gene (e.g., orange fur). The inactivation is random.” However, since Narnia is a male, it’s difficult to make the case that he’s a chimera.
But whether or not Narnia is truly a chimera, he’s become internet-famous. Since his recent rise to stardom, his owner has created a Facebook page solely for Narnia content, called “Amazing Narnia double face cat.”
Chimera or not, a whole lot of people out there think Narnia is the cat’s meow!
Click NEXT POST for more stories.