A Florida family was shocked last week when their pet gave birth to a kitten with one of the rarest genetic disorders in the natural world.
Janus cats, like the Roman god Janus, have two faces. In mythology, Janus had two faces so he could see both the future and the past, and he was known as the god of transitons. In nature, Janus cats are incredibly rare, often because they're known to die a short time after being born.
The oldest living Janus cat was enshrined last year in the Guinness Book of World Records shortly after its 12th birthday, making it the oldest living Janus cat in recorded history.
When a cat with the same remarkable characteristic was born in Florida last week, Nash Hand and wife Amanda Forsythe, of Port Charlotte, were stunned. After a veterinarian exam, the cat was pronounced in good health, then the local media caught wind of the story and wanted a piece of the action.
Unfortunately, a day after Florida ABC News affiliate WWSB ran a story about the cat -- whom the couple named "Harvey Dent," an homage to the two-faced "Batman" villain -- it died from health complications.
The couple insisted upon not euthanizing the kitten because they felt like it deserved a fighting chance. "It shouldn't be killed just because it is a little different," Forsythe said.
This video is from Florida ABC News affiliate WWSB, broadcast Jan. 31, 2012.