Have you heard of the Chimera cat or the two-faced cat? If you’re a regular Facebook or Instagram user, chances are you have already seen, Venus.
The internet had a storm when Venus showed up and got famous because of her unique face pattern. Venus gained 2 million followers on Instagram! Surprising, isn’t it?
Have you ever wondered what makes one half of their face different from the other? And their eyes?! If you haven’t heard much about the Chimera cats, read on to meet them-
What is a Chimera Cat?
Chimera cat is one cat breeds with one color scheme on one half of its face and another on the other half. The separation line between the two colors is sometimes amazingly straight.
Essentially, the Chimera is nature’s play by combining two cats in one. The cells of a Chimera cat are genetically different from other organisms. According to another definition: Chimera is any organism that has cells that are genetically different.
What Causes the Chimera Phenomenon in Cats?
Chimera cat is two cats in one. These cats have two sets of DNA because a couple of embryos fused early in the mother’s womb. Therefore, Chimera kittens take birth combining their DNA plus DNA from the second embryo.
To be more specific, when a normal kitten forms in the womb, it comes from one fertilized egg. Unlike this condition, Chimera cats are formed from two different fertilized embryos that combine and act as one.
It’s more like nature’s play combining two fraternal twins in one. Chimera cats have two unique DNA sets, which are also clearly visible on their face and body structure.
Why Are Some Chimera Cats Born With Distinct Eye Colors?
The condition of having different colored eyes for cats is called heterochromia. We often see distinct eye colors in many cats, but they are not Chimera cats.
Different eye colors are seen more often in Chimera cats as they get one eye color from their DNA and another from the second set of DNA. Therefore, only having distinct eye color does not make a cat a Chimera cat.
Can Calicos and Tortoiseshells Be Considered as Chimera Cats?
Though the coat pattern of Mosaic or Tortie cats might look like Chimera, they are not Chimera cats.
Chimera cats have two sets of DNA which makes the variation in the coat or eyes. However, tortoiseshell cats naturally have a mosaic pattern in their coat which causes different colors.
Therefore, tortoiseshell cats are not Chimera cats as they have their individual DNA. On the other hand, chimera cats have two sets of DNA which make them Chimera.
Why are all Calicos/Tortoiseshells with these patterns female?
This happens because of the XX sex chromosomes that the females carry and the XY of the males. Like humans, the mother and father pass each to the offspring.
The mother bears XX chromosomes and the father carries XY chromosomes. The mother and father each pass one chromosome to the offspring during the reproduction process.
XX makes a female and XY makes a male. However, the fact is that the gene for Calico and Tortoiseshell is carried on the X chromosome only. Therefore, all cats with these color patterns are female- X from mom and X from dad, resulting in female kittens combining XX chromosomes.
However, exceptions are seen in very rare cases.
How to Identify a Chimera Cat?
The differences caused by chimerism can be visible. However, it’s sometimes hard to identify. On the other hand, Calico and Tortoiseshell’s natural coat designs might look like they are Chimeric cats when they are not.
So the best way to identify if your cat has Chimera is having their DNA tested.
Will a Chimera Cat Give Birth to Chimera Kittens?
According to HealthLine, Chimerism continues through the hereditary process. Depending on the DNA originating from the other’s body, the mother can allow two sets of DNA to the offspring which results in a Chimera kitten.
However, you cannot identify what characters the offspring receives from the mother and which are received from the father.
Meet the Famous Chimera Cats
Venus is the first well-known cat with two million followers on Instagram and with a verified account. She has a beautiful two-colored face with orange on the left side and black on the right.
Moreover, she is also heterochromia having two different colored eyes. Venus has large followers on Instagram and Facebook and stormed the internet when it came to light.
Narnia is a British shorthair breed with Chimera. Narnia has a black body but half of his face is blue and the other half is black. In addition, both of his eyes are blue.
Availability of Chimera Cats
Chimeras with unique face features like Venus and Narnia are very rare. However, chimers are not as rare as we think. For example, a cat could have more than one pair of DNA, but we cannot always identify if the cat is a Chimera cat without a DNA test.
To illustrate: some Chimeras are born with two blood types running in their veins. Again, some kittens are born with both male and female features but we identify them as female because of the exterior look but the male organ remains tucked inside.
Therefore, Chimera cats cannot be identified by the coat pattern only; a proper DNA test assures you if your cat is a Chimera cat.
Chimera cats are wonderful and unique cats. To be simple, they’re the two-in-one cat as a gift from nature. Though their birth takes place due to certain exceptions, they are not as rare as we think. Remember, only the coat pattern does not make a cat Chimera. Lastly, the Chimera cat is not a breed but a genetic variation and there is no such thing as a Chimera breeder. So it is not possible to buy one from the pet store.