A woman’s beloved cat, Chai, was sick and died young, so she spent $25,000 to clone her companion “out of pure love” for her pet.
Kelly Anderson told The Sun she “couldn’t be happier with her decision”, despite the daily influx of hate mail on social media and a scathing letter from PETA.
Chai was just five years old when he died on March 16, 2017.
“I couldn’t sleep that night,” Anderson said. “I just remembered having a conversation with my roommate, who is a vet tech, at some point that night about cloning.
“I started doing a lot of research and researching ViaGen a lot. I called them the second they opened the next morning, and the process from there was basically having my vet work with them to obtain a skin biopsy (from Chai).
Four years later, Anderson has a new kitten she named Belle.
ViaGen told The Sun that this ensures they will look the same, but the animals will develop their own personalities as this is based on external factors.
These factors include the number of animals in the house, what the animal is fed, how the cat is raised, among dozens of other impacts on nature versus upbringing.
Anderson said Belle’s personality “is completely different” from Chai.
“They have somewhat similar basic personalities. As if they were very bold and sassy cats, but that could be the breed. But Belle is a brand new cat.
“She’s the troublemaker,” Anderson said as she stroked one of her three other adopted cats during the virtual interview.
“I have all my other cats who are between three and almost 13 years old. He’s my eldest,” she said, holding her black cat. “They’re all pretty cool, and then there’s Belle.
“She’s a kitten and she wants to play all the time. She is really exuberant like any other six month old kitten. She is very affectionate and curious and just daring. She is not afraid at all, she loves going out to new places.
“I take him outside or to beer halls. She loves to explore and meet other animals.
Chai and Belle look identical in the photos, but because Chai was so sick, Belle fills out more and “gets fluffier,” Anderson said.
PETA sends a scathing email
The cloning of dogs and cats is relatively new and controversial.
Opponents oppose cloning and say adopt a pet. Other opponents liken cloning to a high-tech puppy mill.
“I get dozens of hate messages on TikTok every day,” Anderson said.
“Some have ethical issues but some claim I’m using a cloned cat to make money on social media.
” It’s not sure. I don’t win anything with it. I loved Chai so much. That’s the only reason I cloned it.
PETA said in an email that it has “tremendous influence and we are desperate to help shelters…and NOT start a cloning trend.
“Your promotion directly and negatively affects the lives of other cats — those who sit in shelters waiting for families,” PETA said.
Anderson, who trains animals for a living, shared some of her accomplishments and when she worked with PETA on campaigns.
“I appreciate your concern, but it’s very misplaced. And your data is misinformed,” Anderson said in a response email. “Cloning doesn’t affect cats in shelters at all.”
She said she raised more than 100 cats and always adopted them, but losing Chai at age five was a huge blow in her life.
“There was just something special and different about Chai. I don’t really know, I can’t put it into words. She was just that pet to me. I have never had an animal like her. And I wanted to continue a piece of her,” Anderson said.
This article originally appeared on The sun and has been reproduced here with permission.