The Feline Cyclops
This poor little cyclops kitty looks like something out of a science fiction movie, but it’s the genuine article. The kitten was born on December 28, 2005 in Oregon City, Oregon with one large eye in the place where its nose should have been. The unfortunate feline succumbed to the inevitable after only two days on this earth. Our hearts go out to the unique creature who graced this world with its presence for too short a time.
This kitten’s condition is the result of a disorder known as holoprosencephaly, an affliction in which the embryonic forebrain fails to develop into two distinct hemispheres. That means that the brain looks like one undistinguished mass rather than an organ with two distinct sides. That can result in deformities of certain facial features, including the upper lip, the eyes, and the nose. Although this ailment can also occur in humans, it is rare for an affected fetus to survive to term, especially with the more severe forms of the disease, as this kitty exhibited.
The specific form of the disorder suffered by this kitten is known as alobar holoprosencephaly, and it is characterized by the complete absence of one of the lobes of the brain. Rather than possessing a right lobe and a left lobe, the brain is merged into a single body. The typical presentation of this version of the condition includes the absence of an olfactory gland and the merging of two eyes into a single unit in the center of the face.
Other forms of the malady include semilobar holoprosencephaly, lobar holoprosencephaly, and syntelencephaly. Semilobar holoprosencephaly involves the partial separation of the forebrain into distinct lobes, although the division can be nearly complete in the event of lobar holoprosencephaly. Syntelencephaly is somewhat different and is characterized by incomplete separation of the parietal lobe and the posterior frontal lobe rather than the right and left lobes. It is unclear whether syntelencephaly is truly related to the other types of holoprosencephaly or a separate disorder, but it is currently classified in the same category.
The version of the disorder that this kitty suffered from, alobar holoprosencephaly, is the most severe form of the malady. The failure of the facial features to divide and form symmetric units on either side of the face (two eyes, two nostrils) mirrors the failure of the brain to divide into separate lobes. It is nearly impossible for a creature to survive under those conditions.