The old saying goes that cats have nine lives. And if a Russian scientist has his way, some of them may have nine ears, too.
Vladimir Obryvkov, an associate professor at the Voronezh State University of Agriculture, found a five-eared cat wandering in the streets of the southwest Russian city of Voronezh.
Obryvkov has been studying animals with physical anomalies for many years. His students have brought him many odd animals from the villages of the Voronezh region and the surrounding areas, including a calf with two heads and two hearts, a one-eyed lamb, four-legged chickens, conjoined pigs, and a colt with two noses and three eyes. But he had never seen a five-eared cat before.
“The cat has two normal ears, two extra ears are turned 180 degrees and there is a tiny fifth ear,” said Obryvkov.
His first thought was to take the cat to his lab and X-ray its unusual ears, but instead he decided to take her home to his children.
Obryvkov said that the cat, which the family named Luntya, also has unusually big paws and dewlaps on her cheek bones, but despite her unusual appearance, her behavior is no different from that of normal cats.
He also said that he wants to mate Luntya with Luntik, a four-eared tomcat living in Vladivostok, halfway around the world in southeastern Russia.
Hes about the same age as our Luntya. I wish Luntya and Luntik could meet one day and give birth to four-eared kittens, Obryvkov said.
He believes a breed of such cats would be both good-looking and interesting for biologists.
How would the extra set of ears affect other functions, behavior; will they be a beneficial adaptation? Over the last 100 years a multitude of new breeds have been created,” said Obryvkov. “Naked cats [such as the Sphynx] started with a deformity too they have an artificially selected alopecia.”