Venus the black and orange cat becomes an Internet star due to her unique split appearance
Published 12/12/2015 | 14:01
Venus the black and orange tabby has become one of the most famous cats online due to her unique appearance.
Her face is black on one side with a yellow eye and orange on the other side with a blue eye.
Venus has up to 913,000 fans on Facebook, has appeared in numerous YouTube videos and TV shows and was featured in National Geographic magazine.
She even has her own website selling Venus-related merchandise.
Her owner wrote on Facebook: "I'm 100oc natural. No make-up at all. Not even eyeliner."
Venus’s owners Christina and Chris, from Florida, got her from a dairy farm in North Carolina in 2009 where she was a stray and fell in love with her at first sight.
The couple, who dismissed accusations that they were dyeing Venus’s fur saying she was ‘born this way’, have now turned her into an inspiration to millions of people to celebrate diversity – in the cat and human world.
A recent post on Facebook read: "‘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!’ They also post appeals for other cats in local shelters to be rehomed and ask for donations to the Florida Humane Society."
Venus's appearance has been the subject of much speculation.
Leslie Lyons, a professor at the University of California, Davis, told the Daily Mail 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 colours because of a white spotting gene which is also responsible for the white patches on her coat and paws.
According to Professor Papaioannou, the gene affects Venus’s eyes differently and has left the blue one with no pigment.