Are you familiar with the chimera cat? The term chimera comes from Greek mythology as it was the name given to a fire-breathing monster that had the head of a lion, the tail of a serpent, and the body of a goat.
Our chimera cat is nothing like the mythological creature, but it is a very unique looking cat.
The chimera cat is also sometimes called a two-faced cat but not because she has two heads but because her face is divided by a straight line with one side of the face in one color and the other side in another color.
These cats aren’t very common, but their appearance is mysterious and brilliant at the same time. So, if you want to know more about chimera cats, then read on to find out!
What Does A Chimera Cat Look Like?
First of all, a chimera cat isn’t a specific cat breed, therefore there are no specific personality traits that chimera cats share. A chimera cat is rather a name for cats with a so-called split face, which means that they have two different colors on their face.
The face is usually divided by one straight line leaving one half of the face in one color and the other half in another color; looking like each side belongs to two different cats. This phenomenon will be discussed later on in the article.
Their appearance is so interesting that it really seems like the cat has two faces, which is why a chimera cat is sometimes called a two-faced cat. This impression that a cat has two different faces is even more emphasized if the same cat has heterochromia.
Besides their divided faces, chimera cats are often characterized by heterochromia, which means different-colored eyes. However, it’s important to state that not every chimera cat has heterochromia and not every cat that has different-colored eyes is a chimera!
Therefore, the term chimera refers only to the coloring of the cat’s face. Heterochromia may be present in other non-chimera cats due to lack of pigmentation.
Still, this condition most often occurs in chimera cats because they have two distinct sets of different DNA, which means that they get one eye color from one set of DNA, and the second color from the second set of DNA.
What Is Chimerism?
In order to better understand how cats can be chimeras, first I should explain what chimerism is.
Usually, an unborn kitten forms in the mother’s womb from one fertilized egg. A chimera cat has two sets of DNA because two embryos or two different individuals bonded together in the mother’s womb very early in the developmental stages.
As a result, a chimera cat forms with two sets of DNA, one its own, and the other one from the second embryo.
This chimera phenomenon is so interesting that sometimes people like to say that a chimera cat is her own fraternal twin.
A chimera cat isn’t always recognized as soon as the kitten is born because the coloration may be light or unnoticeable, but eventually the color will start to stand out.
Is The Chimera Phenomenon Hereditary?
According to certain research, chimerism can be hereditary. Whether the chimera’s kitten turns out to be a chimera depends on the mother cat and it cannot be accurately predicted. If the mother cat happens to pass two different types of DNA on to her kittens, the kittens will also be chimeras.
Can Calico And Tortie Cats Be Chimeras?
Calico and Tortie cats are very similar to chimeras, but they’re usually not really chimera cats. The reason for that is that calico and tortie cats are mostly female cats, and a male one is extremely rare.
Still, in male tortoiseshell cats or male calico cats, there is a higher chance that they will be chimeras, so let’s find out how!
A male’s Y cannot result in a calico or tortie because the gene for these coat colors is only found on the X chromosome. Therefore, the majority of cats with these colorations are female (X from female and X from male equals XX, or female).
Embryo fusion occurs only occasionally, but when it does occur, the cat may be a male if one of the merged embryos was a female and the other was a male, or if it happens to have an extra X chromosome (XXY), a condition called Klinefelter syndrome.
Unfortunately, because of the fact that the majority of tortie and calico males are sterile, they will continue to be uncommon.
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Are Chimera Cats Rare?
When discussing chimera cats, there are different types. Chimera cats with the mysterious “half and half” facial appearance are very rare.
However, according to Leslie Lyons, a professor who studies the genetics of domestic cats, a cat may have more than one set of DNA without it necessarily being visible.
For example, some chimeras may be born with a mixture of two blood types in their veins. On the other hand, some of them may have both male and female reproductive systems, although their male reproductive organs may be hidden inside, giving them a female appearance.
As a result, chimerism may sometimes only be proven by genetic testing or surgery.
Check this out: Rare Cat Colors & Patterns: 23 Stunning Cats (With Pictures)
Are Chimera Cats Sterile?
Depending on their DNA, some chimera cats may be sterile while some are not. However, neutering sterile male cats is still advised as it can reduce the risk of different health problems such as testicular cancer and stop territorial spraying.
Every cat is unique, but chimeras are even more, which is why they also require special healthcare. It’s important to mention that proper health care for such cats may cost a lot of money which is why it’s important to invest in pet insurance as soon as possible.
Are Janus And Chimera Cats The Same Thing?
As already mentioned, a chimera cat is often referred to as a two-faced cat which may be a bit ambiguous. It can be confusing mostly because there is an actual two-faced cat with a single organism, which is a very rare and unique phenomenon.
These real two-faced cats are recognized as Janus cats, and there are only a few of them living currently. These cats are named after the Roman god Janus who apparently had two faces; one could see into the past and the other one into the future.
The most popular (and the oldest living example) of a Janus cat was known as Frank and Louie, often called FrankenLouie, whose lifespan got it into the Guinness Book of World Records.
Are There Chimera Kittens For Sale?
It’s very hard to find chimera kittens for sale, mostly because it’s not a specific cat breed but rather a cat that has a genetic anomaly. Another reason why it’s hard to find chimera kittens is that they’re extremely rare.
Still, if you desperately want one, you can check in adoption and rescue centers or follow classified ads and who knows, maybe you’ll get lucky.
If you are lucky enough to find chimera kittens, don’t be surprised if their price is extremely high, unless the person selling them doesn’t know what a rarity they have.
Famous Chimera Cats
There aren’t a lot of chimera cats that we know of, because it is rare and sometimes chimerism isn’t visible. Still, there are some chimera or two-faced cats that are extremely popular on social media, where they have a lot of followers.
Narnia is one of the most famous feline chimera cats. Narnia is a 5-years-old British Shorthair cat owned by Stephanie Jimenez of the Grace Cattery in France.
Narnia has a black body, however, her face is half black and half blue. Additionally, she has white spotting gene markings on the chin, two back paws, and chest. Narnia has blue eyes which makes her appearance even more striking.
If you find Narnia stunning, check out this article: A Black Cat With Blue Eyes: What You Need To Know
Because of this unique phenomenon and gorgeous look, Narnia is very famous on social media, especially on Facebook and Instagram where she has 280K followers admiring her beauty.
Not every tortoiseshell cat is a chimera, but Yana is a unique exception. When Yana was just a kitten she wasn’t that popular. However, one day, a woman named Elizabeth from Belarus saw Yana on a classified ad and decided to adopt her.
Lucky for Yana, she became very popular for her unique and amazing appearance and today she’s living her best life.
As far as her appearance is concerned, Yana is a long-haired tortoiseshell cat that has split facial coloring, with two lovely green eyes. This chimera cat is also popular on Instagram where you can follow her activities.
This is another famous chimera cat. Quimera is also a tortoiseshell cat. She has beautiful long hair, however the difference between Yana and Quimera is that Quimera has black fur on the left side of her face, while the right side of the face is orange with tabby stripes.
The biggest difference is the fact that Quimera has one green eye and one blue eye, which makes her even more interesting and popular.
She’s also very popular on Instagram with 83.5 K followers. So, if you want to find out more about Quimera, follow her on Instagram and see what her life looks like.
I saved the best for last – Venus. Venus is considered to be the first chimera cat to be recognized. She was found on a dairy farm as a kitten, and her owner adopted her with no idea how popular she would go on to become.
Venus is a chimera cat that has an orange coat on the left and a black coat on the right side of the face. What makes this feline even more appealing is that she has heterochromia, meaning that one eye is green and the other one is blue in color.
Venus is definitely the most popular chimera cat because she has over 2.2M followers on Instagram. She’s so popular that she even has her own range of merchandise such as a stuffed animal version of herself, calendars, and similar products.
Are Chimera Cats Healthy?
There is not much research on chimera cat’s health. Chimerism in humans is usually connected to infertility, but when it comes to cats, some may be fertile and some may not. Due to their unique DNA, here are some of the diseases that may affect chimera cats:
• Bone fractures – usually caused by injuries.
• Obesity – may lead to serious health problems.
• Cognitive dysfunction – similar to Alzheimer’s disease.
What Is A Chimera Cat’s Lifespan?
There is not much data available about the chimera cat’s lifespan, or health in general. They’re usually healthy cats with some possible diseases such as obesity, bone structure issues, or cognitive dysfunction.
How Do You Tell If A Cat Is A Chimera?
The most straightforward definition of a chimera cat is that it has one coloration on half of its face and/or body and a different coloration on the other. Sometimes the line dividing them is remarkably straight.
However, that’s not the only way; sometimes a cat may be a chimera without visible markings.
Because of that, it’s sometimes difficult to tell whether a cat is a chimera or not. Only a DNA test or a surgical procedure can determine whether a cat is a chimera or not.
What Is The Difference Between A Chimera Cat And A Calico Cat?
The chimera’s coloring is much more unique than a Calico’s. They can have two different colored eyes, or each side of their face can have a different color, like brown on one side, black on the other, in perfect symmetry.
See also: Are Calico Cats Hypoallergenic? Everything You Need To Know
So, a chimera cat isn’t just a mythological monster but a very special cat. A chimera cat is characterized by a unique appearance, having a straight line down the face, with one side of the face in one color and the other side in another color.
Because of their unique and mysterious appearance, they’re highly popular among cat lovers. Most of them wonder where they can find one, however, it’s very hard to find them as they’re extremely rare and not an actual cat breed but rather a genetic mutation.
Moreover, it may be hard to find a chimera cat especially because, sometimes a chimerism phenomenon doesn’t necessarily have to be visible on the cat’s appearance, and in that case, chimerism can only be detected by a DNA test or a surgical procedure.
However, there’s no doubt that these cats have unique looks and a fascinating explanation for their appearance, which is why they’re very popular.
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