Picked up on this one over at Living the Scientific Life. The photo really speaks for itself:
(Photo of Lil’Bit the two-faced cat pinched from the Daily Mail.)
Not only does this cat have two faces — because his faces can sneeze, eat, and sleep separately, his veterinarians think Lil’Bit has two independently functioning brains.
At seven months old, he seems to be faring pretty well, considering his condition. He does have some trouble with the litter box, but his (very obliging) owner has solved that problem with diapers designed for premature babies.
Can you imagine trying to sleep while a second brain convinced your body to gallivant around after a ball of string? But David Harman, commenting on the Living the Scientist Life post, brings up an interesting point: what if one of the brains is dreaming while the other is awake? Normally when the brain is dreaming the body is prevented from acting out the dream by a phenomenon called sleep paralysis. Would sleep paralysis occur, preventing the waking brain from moving the body? Or would it fail, allowing the body to act out the dreaming brain’s impulses?
Actually that makes me wonder whether in general, even while awake, the cat suffers from conflicting signals to the body. What if one brain wants to go left while the other brain wants to go right? Maybe that’s why it has trouble walking and litterboxing.
A little Google-trolling reveals that some other two-faced kitties have made the news. One has mouths that mew in unison, suggesting a shared brain (video here). Another is aptly named Gemini (AP story, via LiveScience, here) and has a somewhat disturbing owner.
(Another photo of Lil’Bit from the Daily Mail.)