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Does Your Pet Have a Doppelganger?


By Julia Williams

I can’t count the times I’ve looked at someone – either in person or a photograph – and thought “Gosh, they sure look like so-and-so.” I hear about this happening to others too, so often that I’m sure every person on the planet will have this same experience many times over the course of their life.

I once hypothesized (not seriously, just in fun) that the reason it happened was because our faces were created from “molds” that were reused. Some molds were eventually altered to create different features, but overall a finite number of molds were available. Hence, in our lifetime we were bound to come across people who looked remarkably like other people, and even…people who looked just like us!

These body doubles are sometimes called doppelgangers, a German word meaning “double-goer.” In folklore, doppelgangers were malicious ghostly doubles that haunted their more innocent counterparts and confused their friends and relatives. (Could the doppelganger legend possibly be where the term “evil twin” came from?). Nowadays, a doppelganger is simply any double or look-alike of a person.

Some people say that everyone has a doppelganger. Although there’s no proof of this, there are many stories about cases of mistaken identity, and some have disastrous consequences. For example, a doppelganger commits a crime and an innocent man is sent to jail. I have never seen my doppelganger, but I sure do hope she is a law abiding citizen!

If we believe that every human has a doppelganger out there somewhere – I’m not convinced but I haven’t rejected the theory, either – then what about our pets? Could dogs and cats have doppelgangers, too? Well, sure. Why not!

My sister’s yellow tabby cat, Sultan, definitely has a doppelganger. Sultan was just a young cat when he went missing. My sister searched for him and found a cat that looked just like him. He didn’t act exactly the same, but she figured his personality was a bit different because of what he’d been through. Not long after, she found the real Sultan! So now she has two cats, Sultan and Sully, who look exactly alike.

Okay, so there are lots of tabbies and black cats that look remarkably similar. There are also a lot of retrievers, labs, collies and such that closely resemble others of their breed. But what about cats and dogs with distinct features? Is there a doppelganger out there for them, too?

I used to think I would never, ever see another cat that looked like my tuxedo kitty, Annabelle. I believed that the ever-so-slightly lopsided black diamond on her nose made her a one-of-a-kind feline. Yet one day while reading one of my favorite blogs, Catself, I stopped dead in my tracks. There was Annabelle! Only… it wasn’t Annabelle, it was Barney, the blogger’s new cat. Barney was the spitting image of Annabelle, right down to that adorable black diamond nose pattern. So is Barney the doppelganger of Annabelle, or vice versa? Who knows!

Roxie the Moggie
Shortly thereafter, I came across Roxie the Moggie on Facebook. She was another Annabelle doppelganger! The resemblance was uncanny. Ever the imaginative one, I began to wonder if perhaps some of us not only have “evil twins” but triplets! And then I found yet another kitty, Nelson, who wasn’t a near match to Annabelle, Barney and Roxie, but could convincingly play any of them in a movie.

I still do a double take every time I see photos of Barney and Roxie. It’s like looking at Annabelle, only she’s right here with me, snuggled over my shoulder and purring away. She’s an outright sweetheart, the most loving cat I’ve ever known. Which means that Barney and Roxie must be her mischievous doppelgangers…right? :-)

Do you think your pet could have a doppelganger out there somewhere?

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