Can you clone your cat? ViaGen Pets says yes.
ViaGen, calling themselves “America’s Pet Cloning and Genetic Preservation Experts” will take your kitty’s (or doggie’s) DNA and produce a genetic twin. I had a chance to talk with Melain Rodriguez and Lauren Aston about the company, the business, and the details of pet cloning when I was at BlogPaws last month.
Before I stopped to read the attractive placard showing a cute kitty and a sweet furry dog, I had no idea someone was actually successfully, and profitably, cloning pets. I suppose I was a little shocked. I’m a big sci-fi fan and, up until then, cloning, with all its implications, had been safely relegated to fiction. Visions of Blade Runner, Star Trek Nemesis, and Jurassic Park flashed through my head. But these weren’t dinosaurs or super-men; they were animals. Pets. Our pets.
This brought me to another moment of pessimism. Being a devoted shelter pet advocate, I had the same problem with cloning that I have with breeders: Why go to all the trouble of making new animals when there are so many homeless animals already here? But I knew I was being closed-minded, so I began to ask questions. I didn’t come away sold on cloning my clowder, but I did learn a lot.
- ViaGen has successfully been cloning pets for some time. Several successful pets such as Tobey Jr. (pictured above) are into their teen- and adult-hood.
- ViaGen doesn’t guarantee the clone will have the same personality as the original, but because the clone is genetically identical, the part of the personality that develops physically will be similar. Melain said owners have reported a marked amount of similarities.
- There is no genetic modification (GMO) involved.
- ViaGen does not breed the feline surrogates themselves. “For optimal health of the feline colony we use SPF (specific pathogen free) cats which are purchased from a commercial breeder.” The cats are adopted out once they have the kitten. Melain assured me the cats are loved and cared-for. ViaGen acquires the eggs utilized in cloning from a spay clinic. No cats are harmed in the process.
- Clones have normal lifespans, are healthy, and require no special medical treatment.
- Cloning is expensive but fits a real and honest need for some people.
I still think it’s a bit weird, but I sure would love to meet a kitty clone. Now, is anyone else up for binge-watching Orphan Black?