Venus the Chimera Cat and the Viral Fame That Created a Community
Have you seen Venus? Suddenly, in recent days, she is everywhere, as images of her face have gone viral, bringing instant fame. We first spotted her photo the day it was posted to Reddit, found it incredibly compelling, and wondered if it was for real. The photo is for real, and so is the young cat behind it.
Venus is a strikingly beautiful 3 year old house cat whose face is half black and half calico colored. She is beloved by her family and has an especially close bond with her human Mom, who she cuddles up to each and every night.
Venus’ Mom didn’t post the photo to Reddit and was not acquainted with the person who did, so she was flabbergasted to discover that her cat had become famous practically over night. Someone with a connection to the family Venus was adopted from saw the photo at Facebook and posted it from there. Once she had absorbed the surprising news, Mom decided to embrace the good will of the thousands of people who appreciated her unusual cat’s striking beauty and to see where her fame might lead. She started Venus’s Page – Amazing Chimera Cat at Facebook. the page has become the locus of activity for Venus and her Mom and has already gained over 11,000 fans in the 8 days it has been in operation.
Venus’ page is a place for Mom to interact with fans, and welcomes photos of similar looking cats, or cats with other unusual markings. A fan page has quickly transformed into a welcoming community. The other cats’ photos are grouped in an album called Other odd eyed or split faced cats & dogs. The page is also sharing Petfinder links for cats similar to Venus in an effort to help find them homes. Mom’s public spiritedness at the page is not surprising, considering she is devoted animal lover who does what she can, even if it is sharing photos at Facebook, to help homeless pets find homes and to support local laws that benefit animals. A recent foray into rescue on a very small scale has acquainted Mom with the heartbreak and difficulties that go with the territory, but she remains passionate in her desire to help. If opportunities arise for Venus, in advertising, for example, Mom will consider them as a means to put money toward animal welfare and rescue while sharing Venus’ unusual beauty with the world.
There is speculation and disagreement over whether Venus is genetically a chimera cat or a mosaic (see bottom of post for more). Her family has not had her tested, but would be interested to know the genetic background to her beautiful markings. We use the term generically to describe the pattern of her markings, as does her family.
Here is Venus’ story, as told by Mom:
Almost 3 years ago in September 2009 one of my childhood friends posted some pics of a bunch of stray kittens her husband took pics of while he was doing some work on a dairy farm in North Carolina. Naturally, being an animal lover, I looked through the pics and sawthis little split face cat that looked like a combo of the 2 cats I currently had (and still have), an orange tabby and black tux. I wanted her right then and there because she looked like a combo….I hadn’t seen the eyes yet. So when I clicked on the next picture I couldn’t get on the phone fast enough with her.
I asked my friend to get permission from the farm owner to adopt the cat out, paid for her to take her to the vet to be cleared of illness/disease & get 1st round of shots, and my husband (yes he is awesome) flew up 2 days later to get her. She flew back in a carrier on his lap (a soft material pink one…..lol) and was about 2 mos old at the time. He did get a LOT of attention at the airport & shocked and amazed everyone who got a look at her through the carrier.
We (us and the kids) really wanted to give her a cool name with meaning so we came up with Venus, Greek for the goddess of beauty and love. She took to us right away but was naturally scared when my other animals approached her so I picked her up in the cradle position (like in the most recent video) and just held her and pet her. I think that’s why we have the closest bond. I have held her so many times like that it’s crazy and she loves it. I’ve watched half a football game with her cradled like that just laying on the couch.
She’s as sweet as can be….gentle, loving, and has this little tiny kitten like “meow” even though she is 3 now. She acts like a big baby in the way that she loves to be babied. She doesn’t bother any furniture with her claws and uses a scratching post. She does not have one single bad habits……she’s perfect! She was 2.5 lbs when we got her and now almost 3 years later is only 5 lbs. She is very mellow and lets me trim her nails with no struggle. I am the only one that can do this….she doesn’t let anyone else handle her like I can.
Some funny things about her are that as tiny as she is she likes to pick the giant pieces of food from the dog food bowl rather than eat her cat food and when the dogs come up she looks at them like “um yeah don’t even think about it”. She’s the smallest animal of 5 but rules roost & doesn’t take any crap from the other animals. She is such a wonderful cat and I’d be just as in love with her even if she wasn’t so pretty. Her personality is as beautiful as her outside is.
Blissfully unaware of her fame. this newest video was made partly to answer those few who claim Venus’ markings were photoshopped, and partly to give a close up view of her beauty for her fans.
Venus being cradled and shown off by Mom.
The most widely seen video of Venus. This was shot a year ago and then uploaded to YouTube on August 15 as interest in her first became widespread.
Wikipedia defines Chimera, briefly, thus “A chimera or chimaera is a single organism (usually an animal) that is composed of two or more different populations of genetically distinct cells that originated from different zygotes involved in sexual reproduction. If the different cells have emerged from the same zygote, the organism is called a mosaic.” For more, see the Wikipedia pages for Chimera, and Mosaic.