Black and orange tabby becomes an internet star due to her striking split appearance
You could be mistaken for thinking that somebody has been playing around with make-up. But Venus the cat is actually real, despite her striking appearance.
The five-year-old tabby has taken the Internet by storm thanks to her unique face, which is black on one side and orange on the other. Her eyes are different too - her black side has a yellow one while her orange side has a blue one.
Venus boasts 913,000 likes on her Facebook page, is featured in dozens of YouTube videos and even has her own website selling Venus-related merchandise. She has also appeared in National Geographic magazine and starred on numerous US TV shows.
In a brief interview on her website, Venus addressed speculation she is a fake. She said: ’I’m 100 per cent natural. No makeup at all. Not even eyeliner.
Venus’s owners Christina and Chris got her from a dairy farm in North Carolina in 2009, where she was a stray. They fell in love with her at first sight because she looked like a mixture of their other two cats, an orange tabby and a black tuxedo.
They were astonished that the line down her face was so distinct. Even her whiskers were white on one side and black on the other.
Christina and Chris, who declined to give their surnames, have said that people have accused them of dying Venus’ fur - but the reality is that their pet was ‘born this way’.
克里斯蒂娜和克里斯，拒绝透露自己的姓氏，他们表示，人们纷纷指责他们将维纳斯染成这样 - 但事实是，维纳斯真的是生来如此。现在夫妻俩已成功将维纳斯塑造成一个鼓舞亿万人的榜样，在猫和人类的世界中鼓励多样化的存在。
A recent post on Venus’s Facebook page reads: ‘No matter how different you are, love yourself and all of your perfect imperfections! We all have them.‘ Be true to yourself and don’t change for anyone! We’re not all supposed to be the same. Our differences are what makes us unique which makes everyone one of a kind.’
They also post appeals for other cats in local shelters to be rehomed and ask for donations to the Florida Humane Society.
Quite how Venus looks the way she does has been the source of some speculation.
Leslie Lyons, a professor at the University of California, Davis, has said that Venus is ‘extremely, extremely rare’, but her appearance could be explained.
Professor Lyons, who studies cat genetics, said her theory was that black coloration was randomly activated in all the cells on one side of her face while she was developing. The orange coloration was activated on the other and they met in the middle of her body while she was in the womb.
The professor said she would like to carry out DNA testing with samples of skin from both sides of the cat. If her theory is right then Venus will have different DNA on the black side to the orange side.
Other geneticists have speculated that Venus was the product of two embryos.
Virginia Papaioannou, a Columbia University Professor of Genetics and Development, has said that this would result in irregular genetic combinations. Venus’s eyes are different colors because of a white spotting gene, which is also responsible for the white patches on her coat and her paws. According to Professor Papaioannou, the gene affects Venus’ eyes differently and has left the blue one with no pigment.