Images of Venus the “two-faced cat” began circulating heavily online around 2012. These photos show a feline with a face featuring two different colors, separated by a straight line.
The cat is real.
With a straight line perfectly separating the cat’s face into two colors – along with two different eye colors – there have been several theories as to why Venus has taken on such an unusual appearance.
If only a single image of this feline existed, claims of a Photoshopped image would be a logical reaction. We’ve certainly covered our share of phony images such as black lions, giant spiders, and golden snakes. In this case, however, the popularly-shared images are not Photoshopped. There are countless other images and videos of this cat available online.
The cat’s official website boasts a tagline of “0% Photoshopped, 100% Born This Way.”
Dyed Face Theory
For the truly skeptical, it has been suggested that one side the cat’s face was merely dyed by the owner. While we wouldn’t put it past someone to pull such a prank, in the case of Venus this doesn’t appear to be the case. This cat has been scrutinized on video and television, and all of the photos appear consistent. Images are constantly being uploaded to the cat’s Facebook page, and the cat still appears alive and well as of March 2016.
Many have assumed that this cat’s split-face is a result of chimerism, which means the animal would have two sets of DNA. This is a plausible explanation, but it isn’t clear if this has been proven via DNA testing. One caption states that cat’s owner “doesn’t believe in testing to satisfy curiosity.” The cat’s official Facebook page has referred to Venus as a “chimera cat,” and the official “About” page seems to indicate that a DNA test was performed, although the results aren’t given.
Q: What did the scientists who conducted tests on your DNA find?
A: First, they tried to take my fingerprints. But, everyone knows that cats don’t have fingers. Silly scientists! So then, they took some of my DNA and found I was composed mostly of XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXO. (That’s hugs and kisses for those of you who don’t speak the lanugage of love).
This is a type of coat found on almost exclusively female cats. It has a wide range of possible patterns, including patches and stripes. In this case, it is possible that the straight line appeared purely out of luck.
The cat’s official Twitter page uses the tortoiseshell description. In 2015 the bio read: I am a 4 yr old tortoishell w/ 1/2 blk face & 1/2 orange tabby w/1 blue eye & 1 green eye.
This was updated by 2016 to read: I’m a 5 yr old tortoishell w/ 1/2 blk face & 1/2 orange face w/1 blue eye & 1 green eye. My whiskers R diff colors on ea side…
Below are two videos of Venus. The first clip was posted on the cat’s Facebook page, which shows the feline featured on a Nat Geo Wild’s Oddities episode. The second is a YouTube video featuring the cat engaging in typical behavior.
Oddly, in 2013 a rare two-tone lobster was discovered with the same orange/brown color pattern as Venus.
UC Davis professor Leslie Lyons has described the cat as “extremely rare” and “a bit of a mystery.” In fact, Lyons appeared to marvel more at the cat’s single blue eye than its perfectly-divided face. Venus, however, is a real cat. Despite occasional persistent claims that the cat has been dyed, it’s difficult to image that Nat Geo and the Today Show would have been fooled so easily.
Updated March 4, 2016
Originally published April 2013