Kelowna woman clones pet cat for $35,000 USD | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kelowna woman clones pet cat for $35,000 USD

Kris Stewart's cat Bear is being cloned to create Bear Bear.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Kris Stewart

A Kelowna woman who wants more time with her beloved kitty has decided to clone it after death for $35,000 USD.

Kris Stewart, a Kelowna resident, said her cat Bear died after it was hit by a car in late January.

“I've always had a cat or a dog swirling around my feet and I’ve never had a cat like Bear… the reason I wanted to go through this was to preserve the genetic material of an animal that I found unique and absolutely exquisite,” she said.

READ MORE: Kamloops dog lover starts up a tasty new venture for pets

Upon the cat’s death, she had to locate a vet to conduct a biopsy to harvest its cells. The first vet told her they were unable to harvest the cells so she had to keep the cat overnight in her fridge to preserve it long enough to conduct a biopsy at another vet's clinic the following morning.

The cells were then shipped to ViaGen Pets, a pet cloning business based in Texas. The company did not respond to a request for comment but said it is a “worldwide leader in cloning the animals we love,” on its website.

“We’ve successfully cloned thousands of cows and hundreds of horses, delivering healthy, happy animals to our long-time clients. Our parent company, TransOva Genetics, has been providing leading animal cloning and reproductive services for livestock clients for over thirty years,” according to ViaGen.

There is only a narrow window to send the pet's tissue to ViaGen, Stewart said, adding she’s been following what’s happening in the cloning world for the last 20 years.

Stewart had heard about ViaGen Pets years ago and initially wanted the company to clone her cocker spanielbut the dog’s cells could not be cultivated for cloning.

The cost to clone Bear at the end of the process will cost $35,000 USD, roughly $44,000 CAD, Stewart said.

So far, the company has been able to culture four million of Bear’s cells in a petri dish, she said, adding she was provided with a certificate of authenticity.

The cells will be preserved in labs, before Bear’s genetic material is implanted into a donor egg, creating an embryo that is then planted into a donor cat mother, Stewart said. If all goes well, Stewart will have a new cloned kitty she plans to name Bear Bear in the fall.

“The success rate is about 85%,” she said. Once the genetic material is turned into embryos, the first payment is due. When the kitty is born, then pet owners pay the full amount, she said.

“When it comes to me thinking I can recreate Bear out of his generic material, I don’t even see dollar signs, it means nothing… when it comes to the care of my pet,” Stewart said.

Stewart was initially skeptical about the process, but said she met with another cloned pet owner in Vancouver and was able to see the results of the cloning process.

“I couldn’t believe it, it was one of the most exciting phone calls I’ve ever made in my life,” she said.


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