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Cyclops, the One-Eyed Kitten

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Netlore Archive: Viral image of a one-eyed kitten named Cyclops who survived only 24 hours before succumbing to a rare medical condition known as holoprosencephaly.

Description: Viral image
Circulating since: Jan. 2006
Status: Authentic (see details below)

Example:
Email contributed by Cheryl P., Jan. 9, 2006:

Subject: Wow!

Cy, short for Cyclops, a kitten born with only one eye and no nose, is shown in this photo provided by its owner in Redmond, Oregon, on Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2005. The kitten, a ragdoll breed, which died after living for one day, was one of two in the litter. Its sibling was born normal and healthy. (AP Photo/Traci Allen)

Cy, short for Cyclopes, a kitten born with only one eye and no nose, is shown in this photo provided by its owner in Redmond, Oregon, on Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2005. The kitten, a ragdoll breed, which died after living for one day, was one of two in the litter. Its sibling was born normal and healthy. (AP Photo/Traci Allen)


Analysis: Though the image above was greeted with some skepticism when it first began circulating online in Jan. 2006, Associated Press regional photo editor Tom Stathis says he took "extensive steps" to authenticate it before publishing, including an examination the memory card of the digital camera with which the photo was taken. Stathis concluded it would have been "virtually impossible" to fabricate.

The photo of the one-day-old kitten, named Cy (short for "Cylops"), was one of several snapped by its owner, Traci Allen of Redmond, Oregon, before Cy succumbed to a rare medical condition called holoprosencephaly, which causes facial deformities. Cy's corpse is now stored in her freezer, Allen told AP, in case scientists want to use it for medical research.

Update #1: Cyclopean Second Thoughts - Was I too quick to hush the skeptics questioning the authenticity of AP's one-eyed kitten photo? Some readers think so...

Update #2: Vet Confirms One-Eyed Kitten Was Real - Joe Strupp of Editor & Publisher reports that a veterinarian examined the frozen corpse of Cy, the one-eyed kitten last month and determined it was not a hoax...

Update #3: Frozen Remains of One-Eyed Kitten Sold to Creationist Museum - The corpse of Cyclops, the one-eyed kitten, who lived only a day but came to be immortalized in Internet debates over its authenticity, has been sold by its owner to a Creationist museum, according to the Associated Press.

Update #4: "Cleyed the Cyclops," a very similar-looking one-eyed kitten which also died shortly after birth was documented on video in Oct. 2012.


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Sources and further reading:

One-Eyed Cat May Have Had Neurological Disorder
Associated Press, 10 January 2006

Bloggers Eyeball Cyclops Kitten Story
Blogma (CNET), 12 January 2006

Information About Holoprosencephaly
Fact sheet from Carter Centers for Brain Research


Last updated: 10/10/12


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