PORTLAND, Ore. – A photo of a one-eyed kitten named Cy drew more than a little skepticism when it turned up on various Web sites, but medical authorities have a name for the bizarre condition.
Holoprosencephaly causes facial deformities, according to the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke, part of the National Institutes of Health. In the worst cases, a single eye is located where the nose should be, according to the institute's Web site.
Traci Allen says the kitten she named Cy, short for Cyclops, was born the night of Dec. 28 with the single eye and no nose.
"You don't expect to see something like that," the 35-year-old Allen said by telephone from her home in Redmond in central Oregon.
Allen said she stayed up all night with the deformed kitten on her recliner, feeding Cy a liquid formula through a syringe. She says she cared for the kitten the next day as well, until it died that evening.
Allen had taken digital pictures that she provided to The Associated Press. Some bloggers have questioned the authenticity of the photo distributed on Jan. 6.
AP regional photo editor Tom Stathis said he took extensive steps to confirm the one-eyed cat was not a hoax.
Stathis had Allen ship him the memory card that was in her camera. On the card were a number of pictures — including holiday snapshots and four pictures of a one-eyed kitten. The kitten pictures showed the animal from different perspectives.
Fabricating those images in sequence and in the camera's original picture format, from the varying perspectives, would have been virtually impossible, Stathis said.
Meanwhile, Cy the one-eyed cat may be dead, but it has not left the building.
Allen said she's keeping the cat's corpse in her freezer for now, in case scientists would like it for research.
She said one thing's for certain: "I'm not going to put it on eBay."