Have you ever heard of a “split-faced cat” or a ” two-faced cat” ?
If you’ve spent time watching cats on Facebook or Instagram, chances are you’ve seen one. These are names that are often used to refer to a chimera cat , and there are some very famous on the networks.
The best example is Narnia, a one-year-old kitten with a perfectly symmetrical half black and gray face with pretty blue eyes that is taking Instagram by storm.
Narnia is a British shorthair cat , and we are surprised by her exotic split face. Narnia is a true chimera cat , a feline that has two sets of DNA, the result of the fusion of two embryos.
What is a chimera cat?
At first glance, a chimera cat is a feline that has one color scheme on one half of its face and / or body and another on the other half. The line that separates the colors is sometimes very straight, making it appear that it is two cats in one. What is not far from the truth.
If you know anything from Greek mythology, Homer’s Iliad chimera was a fire-breathing monster with the body of a goat, the tail of a snake or dragon, and the head of a lion.
But the feline chimera is a much more real creature with a logical scientific explanation.
What Causes Chimera Cats?
A chimera is an animal that is made up of cells from at least two different original embryos. If they fuse early enough in the mother’s womb, they will become a single organism whose genetic input comes from two completely different individuals. So, split-faced kittens are born with their own individual DNA, plus DNA from a second embryo. Some like to say that a chimera is its own identical twin.
Newborn kittens can be born with such slight differences in coloration that they are not really noticeable or with differences that cannot be seen. Occasionally, however, one will show a difference that is so dramatic that it is surprising. A chimera is an unusual and unlikely event.
Why do some chimera cats have different colored eyes?
The cats two sides often have different colored eyes. This may be one of the most remarkable characteristics of these cats, and it is a phenomenon called heterochromia .
Most cats with “different eyes” are not chimeras, but it is more likely to occur with them because of the two sets of DNA these cats have. They get one color from their own DNA and another from the second.
Is a calico cat a chimera cat?
The cats calico and tortoiseshell often appear chimeras, but most are not. Most of these cats are female, but occasionally a male will be born. Chances are good that male is a chimera.
This happens due to the XX sex chromosomes carried by females and XY from males. The mother and father pass a chromosome to the offspring.
Like humans, the mother cat can only contribute an X, but the father can pass an X or a Y. If she contributes the X, the offspring will be XX or female. If he contributes the Y, the offspring will be XY, or male.
The gene for the calico and tortoiseshell coats is only carried on the X chromosome, therefore almost all cats with these color patterns are female (X from mom and X from dad equals XX, or female).
Famous internet chimera cats
You are probably familiar with famous chimera cats that have become popular through Instagram and other social networks.
However, you should know that without DNA testing, it is impossible to know if these cats are chimeras in the scientific sense.
Either way, they really are lovely! Here are some of them.
Venus is an American tortoiseshell cat. It has a striking two-color face, orange on the left and black on the right. He also has heterochromia with one blue and one green eye.
Venus has a huge following on Instagram and Facebook.
The Narnia kitten
Narnia is a beautiful British shorthair cat raised and owned by Stéphanie Jiménez in France. His body is black, but half of his face is blue (a color that looks more like slate gray), and the other half is black. Both of his eyes are blue.
Like Venus, Narnia has a huge following on Instagram.
The Chimera cat
Chimera is, curiously, almost the mirror image of Venus. His face has black on the left and orange on the right.
He also has a green eye and a blue eye. Here you have Chimera on Instagram.
Yana is another tortoiseshell cat with chimera characteristics. It is owned by a woman named Elizabeth and is from Belarus, who found her through a classified ad when she was just a kitten. Yana also has her face color divided, but unlike Venus and Chimera, her eyes are green.
You can see Yana as a kitten on her Instagram page .
Where can I buy or adopt a chimera kitten?
The simple answer is that you probably can’t buy or adopt one. Again, because chimera cats are not a breed, but just a genetic quirk, it will be very difficult to get hold of a specimen.
No, there is no such thing as a chimera breeder. You can look in shelters and see classifieds, and one day you might be lucky. Elizabeth found Yana through a sale advertisement.
But finding a true chimera cat (or even a cat that looks like one) is probably more difficult than finding a five-leaf clover in your backyard.
If you are lucky and find one, it would be impossible to predict its price. Due to its rarity, the price will likely be very high.
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