Last Updated on: June 25, 2023 by Crystal Uys

calico tabby cat

I have yet to have the opportunity to meet a cloned cat in person. I’ve heard of the phenomenon many times over the years, but I have never personally considered having any of my cats cloned. However, I have always wondered who the first cloned cat was, how long they lived, and what their quality of life was like. If you’re curious about the same thing, you’ve come to the right place!

Meet CC — The First Cloned Cat!

The first cloned cat was named CC, short for “Carbon Copy.” The cloning took place at Texas A&M University, where researchers took a few ovary cells from a cat named Rainbow while she was being spayed and then implanted the nuclei from the cells into an egg. This resulted in the birth of CC, the cloned cat, on December 22, 2001!

Although the cloned cat seemed to be healthy, the scientists who created CC did get a big surprise: She didn’t look anything like Rainbow, the cat that she was a clone of. Rainbow was a calico cat that had grey and orange markings, but CC didn’t have any orange markings. Scientists didn’t expect this to occur but eventually determined that the nuclei that they used didn’t include the gene responsible for developing the orange markings.

What Ever Happened to CC, the Cloned Cat?

CC the cat lived a long and happy life with her adopted parents, Duane and Shirley Kraemer. She even gave birth to four kittens, three of which survived. This means she was not only the first cloned cat in existence, but she was also the first cloned cat to ever give birth. CC lived with her offspring in a specially designed shed in the backyard of Duane and Shirley’s home. She ended up living to a ripe old age of 18 years and was healthy until she was diagnosed with kidney failure. Sadly, she passed away from the condition on March 3, 2020.

Cat Cloning Is Becoming Mainstream

I was aware that cat cloning has been taking place for many years, but I didn’t realize just how mainstream it seems to have become. There are many companies out there, like Gemini Genetics, that promise to clone your cat and create a new life with 99.9% genetic similarity, an almost identical appearance, and the same general lifespan and reproductivity abilities.

It seems that all you have to do is provide the company with a tissue sample of your beloved cat, and they will eventually deliver you a cloned cat. Cloning isn’t cheap, though. It typically costs thousands of dollars, so the idea of cloning a cat is likely out of reach for many people. That said, a woman named Kelly in the United States cloned her cat not too long ago, as did a man named Heung in China.

Controversies Surrounding Cat Cloning

Of course, there are a few controversies surrounding the idea of cloning a cat or any domestic animal at all, for that matter. Ethics are behind most of the concerns. For instance, many feel that cloning a cat indirectly harms the stray and abandoned cats that already exist and are in need.

It’s also thought by some people that cloned cats may not be as healthy or as long lived as the original cats from which they were cloned. But there is no evidence so far that indicates that cloned cats have any health problems that the original cats would not have had. That said, if cloning becomes mainstream in the food industry, it could cause more pain and suffering than is necessary because there will be many more animals born and raised in terrible conditions just to be killed for food.

Final Thoughts

While the idea of cloning cats is intriguing, it seems that there is still a great deal of research that needs to be done before making the process of cloning a pet widely available to the average person. However, the only way to know how cloning might affect an animal or an industry in the long term is to create more cloned animals and see what happens.

Featured Image Credit: Anne Richard, Shutterstock

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