Last Updated on May 21, 2023 by Pets Feed
Speaking on ITV’s ‘This Morning‘, Kelly Anderson, 32, from Texas, said she was devastated when her five-year-old pet Chai died in 2017.
Holding Chai’s clone Belle in her lap, she went on to describe how the process of cloning her pet took four years, but was “definitely worth the wait.”
Biologically, his new cat Belle is part of Chai, as they share the same DNA due to the cloning process.
Texas-based ViaGen Pets is a division of TransOva Genetics, which provides animal cloning services to pet owners.
ViaGen Pets has been cloning horses and cattle for 17 years, three and a half years ago they started cloning cats and dogs.
Cloning a dog costs $50,000, while a cat now costs $35,000; the company recently increased the fee by $10,000 to cover rising costs.
The price difference is due to the fact that female dogs only come into heat once or twice a year, while a female cat’s reproductive cycle is much more frequent.
To clone a pet, ViaGen Pets requires at least two skin samples to collect DNA.
Most skin samples are taken from the belly or inside of an animal’s leg.
These samples are then chilled with ice packs and sent to a lab where they are placed in an incubator and the cells begin to grow.
In two to four weeks, there are millions of cells.
The cells are collected and placed in vials which are frozen in tanks of liquid nitrogen.
This gene preservation costs $1,600 with an annual storage fee of $150.
In the next step of cloning, a donor egg is removed from a donor animal.
The nucleus of the egg is removed so that there is no DNA left and is replaced by one of the millions of cells that have been cultured in the laboratory.
The embryo is implanted in a surrogate animal which gives birth to kittens genetically identical to the original cat.
Kelly explained that the whole process took nearly four years from start to finish, however, she admitted that was not the “normal time frame”.
Speaking about the cloning process, the pet owner said, “They do a skin biopsy and recommend doing it while your pet is still alive.”
However, he admitted that if you wait until your animal is already dead, you have to “do it pretty quickly because the cells start to die”.
When asked if Belle felt like the same cat, Kelly explained, “She’s one of a kind” and “I didn’t expect her to be Chai.”
She continued, “I never wanted her to be Chai, to me it felt like a stand-in.”
“It’s a Chai track, so that’s what matters most to me.”
He went on to say that he also adopted two other cats, but wanted to clone Chai because he felt he “didn’t spend that time with her” after she died young.
Kelly received a lot of trolling online after deciding to clone her cat, but the animal lover said most people are worried about how she “spends her money”.
She explained: “$25,000 is definitely a lot of money, but people spend that on cars every day or more and nobody says anything about it.”
Images: This Morning, ITV
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