Hi Reddit! This is Kelly Anderson, and I started the cloning process of my late cat in 2017 with ViaGen Pets. Yes, actually cloned, as in they created a genetic copy of my cat. I got my kitten in October 2021. She’s now 9-months-old and the polar opposite of the original cat in many ways. (I anticipated she would be due to a number of reasons and am beyond over the moon with the clone.) Happy to answer any questions as best I can! Clone: Belle, @clonekitty / Original: Chai

Proof: https://imgur.com/a/y4DARtW

Additional proof: https://www.goodmorningamerica.com/living/video/woman-spends-25k-clone-cat-83451745

Proof #3: I have also sent the Bill of Sale to the admin as confidential proof.

UC Davis Genetic Marker report (comparing Chai's DNA to Belle's): https://imgur.com/lfOkx2V

Update: Thanks to everyone for the questions! It’s great to see people talking about cloning. I spent pretty much all of yesterday online answering as many questions as I could, so I’m going to wrap it up here, as the questions are getting repetitive. Feel free to DM me if you have any grating questions, but otherwise, peace.

Comments: 3932 • Responses: 63  • Date: 

epicnoober12333099 karma

Is it emotionally hard? I couldn't imagine, when my current dog dies, seeing an exact clone but knowing it's not the same pet. I'd be a complete wreck.

IAmJesusOfCatzareth2690 karma

Not really. I never put the expectation of this being the same cat on her, so it was like learning (and was like learning) a new kitten all over.

Lameusofff2877 karma

If you didn't expect it to be like your old pet then why clone it? I'm not hating just generally confused as it seems like a waste of money.

IAmJesusOfCatzareth2292 karma

I wanted to carry on a piece of her. Not a waste of money if you find value in it.

Ded-Smoke2151 karma

Is the new cat going to have a long life? (the last I knew about cloning animals was dolly the sheep)

IAmJesusOfCatzareth2685 karma

Yup! Clones these days often show longer telomeres, which is what the whole half life thing was based off of with Dolly. She will live a normal cat life.

themage78840 karma

Does she only have 8 lives now since the first one used one? 🤔🤔🤔

IAmJesusOfCatzareth368 karma


wfsgraplw1429 karma

Do the differences not freak you out? I loved my cat. Absolutely loved him. But if I was to have a cat that was essentially him in every way, yet his personality was different, it would just make me miss him even more. "You look like him, but you're not him", so to speak.

IAmJesusOfCatzareth909 karma

I never put the expectation that the kitten was going to be the same as my original cat on her. So no. I don’t see them as the same cat at all. I see the most two very separate individuals.

MonkRX963 karma

On Viagen's process of genetic preservation - did you get a genetic sample post or pre mortem; and if it was pre mortem - did they require multiple attempts or was the single sampling sufficient to provide a genetic sample to create a clone off of? How was the entire process working with Viagen? Was it more or less hands off once they had a viable genetic sample, or was there a lot of discussion and decision making?

IAmJesusOfCatzareth961 karma

I collected post-mortem. But I know people who have collected pre- and it's one time collection, usually just under local at your vet. My chances weren't as high because she'd been deceased for less than 24 hours. Pretty hands off once the cells were sent off, yeah. A lot of discussion about what to expect, counseling type stuff, though.

jimmycarr192 karma

Have there been any emotions or situations that were particularly difficult to deal with during this process? I'm interested to know what they were preparing you for and if/how it helped.

IAmJesusOfCatzareth177 karma

I got her four years after my cat died, so I had processed the worst of them.

The29thpi795 karma

How are they similar and different?

IAmJesusOfCatzareth2733 karma

Similar in what I consider breed traits. Both were/are bold and sassy cats.

Different in about every other way. The original cat was quite sick as a kitten and because of that was never socialized and never really got to be a kitten. So she was reserved, standoffish, and really only hung around me. The clone has been to breweries regularly and gone hiking in Colorado with me and has just seen the world in ways the original never got to. She’s inquisitive and curious and all kitten.

Purple-Woodpecker6601214 karma

There’s something pretty cool about cloning a being and giving a version of it better nurturing and a better life. I get the qualms people have about the cost and trade off to just adopting a cat in need but this aspect of it is quite cool.

MOSh_EISLEY124 karma

Was just talking to my wife about this. We rescued a dog who was ~2 and she's a total sweetheart most of the time, but we suspect she was abused (she flinches a lot and gets defensive if she feels endangered even slightly) and was never properly socialized as a puppy so she doesn't get along with other dogs. Would be interesting to have a clone of her that looks identical (adorable as hell lol) but properly socialized and loved.

IAmJesusOfCatzareth5 karma

It's fascinating stuff, really!

Deradius109 karma

The clone has been to breweries regularly

Is she into IPAs?

IAmJesusOfCatzareth127 karma

Not so much, typically. ;) image

Underlard24 karma

If the first cat was sick alot, was there ever a worry about the clone getting those traits? If so, why did you still go through with it?

IAmJesusOfCatzareth33 karma

She was sick /as a kitten./ Viral/bacterial shit she had for over after 3-5 months. Nothing genetic that would carry over, and because she was sick those months, she's also health tested in full. I wanted to carry on a piece of my cat is why I went ahead with it.

sje4622 karma

If your original cat came back to life and stood next to its clone (not doing anything behaviorwise to give themselves away) would you be able to tell the difference from appearance alone?

IAmJesusOfCatzareth63 karma

Yes. One is a kitten, one was an adult. ;) But actually, yes, Belle is about 3-4lbs more than Chai was due to neonatal nutrition. Ragdolls take 2-3 years to fully express their colors, so I have no idea how varied their patterns will be.

grizzlybeared504 karma

Is this a process you would/will continue to do with your cat?

IAmJesusOfCatzareth704 karma

Nope. I only did it because 1) my cat had a special connection with me I’ve never shared with anyone and 2) she died young. If this kitten dies young, I would be too scared that the next one would as well.

-fakebirds-93 karma

Do you and the clone have the same special connection?

IAmJesusOfCatzareth183 karma

Nope. I've only had her for seven months, so we have a lifetime to get to know each other.

Orbitskylab60 karma

Would you say it viscerally feels like a new cat that just has similar characteristics as the old one?

Are there any moments where she does something that you see the old cat in? A certain look or mannerism or something?

IAmJesusOfCatzareth122 karma

Definitely a new cat.

Sure, she brings up a lot of memories that I forgot about until they happen again, like the way she sleeps against me. Or every once in a while she'll make a face that looks like Chai.

zombiibenny47 karma

What happened? How did she die young.

IAmJesusOfCatzareth137 karma

A petsitter let her get ahold of plastic and she died post-op.

adudeguyman56 karma

Hopefully not from a genetic defect.

IAmJesusOfCatzareth48 karma

I would never clone if it had been. She had been fully health tested.

zombiibenny453 karma

What kind of health problems did the original have? And this time are you more prepared to treat these or even prevent?

IAmJesusOfCatzareth682 karma

Just viral and bacterial ones that she got over and was a healthy cat for the rest of her life. Because of them I ran health tests and know that there’s nothing genetic to be carried over to the kitten. Otherwise I don’t think I would have cloned.

Deschain_191943 karma

How do you know they didn't just grab a cat from a shelter?

IAmJesusOfCatzareth30 karma

I have a genetic marker report from UC Davis comparing the two cats' DNA as identical.

-iceblock-10 karma

Do you see no other similarities or smirks that they share? Favorite toys, food, colours or behairviors? Do you think if you late cat had been raised the same way as the clone they'd be more similar?

I lost a cat way to early from an accident as well a few years ago and really wanted to clone him to give him another chance at life, he was my everything. But couldn't get myself to do it yet because i am afraid it's to traumatic to see 'him' again, did you wait this long on purpose or is it the process and hiw far were you in you grieving when she arrived?

IAmJesusOfCatzareth15 karma

The clone instantly gravitated toward the only two pets I had when the original was alive. Now +7. She sleeps with my the same in a weird way. Both knocked shit off of counters incessantly (I know this is a cat thing but none of my others do.) And I do think they'd be more similar, yes.

I'm so sorry for your loss. I'd had four years to grieve before I got my kitten so I was in a good place.

cheezemeister_x10 karma

Why would you waste $25K like that?

IAmJesusOfCatzareth12 karma

It's not wasting if you find value in it. Just because you don't doesn't make it wrong.

JaiOhBe9 karma

Would you do this again with another pet?

IAmJesusOfCatzareth4 karma


prolemango5 karma

Very fascinating. Thank you for doing this AMA.

What was the process working with Viagen like? You said it takes a year - is that a year from initial contact to having a cat in your home? Or a year for them to just do the cloning?

Also, how much genetic material did they need from the original cat to make the clone? Was it just some fur or something more? What happens if the fur you give them is accidentally mixed with fur from your other cat?

IAmJesusOfCatzareth7 karma

It was an amazing experience with ViaGen. From start of cloning to end, not from contract signing.

They just require a simple skin punch biopsy. So not much. Can be done under local at your vet.

littlebitsofspider4 karma

How does it feel to be the public face of something that used to be straight-up science fiction?

The first use of "clone" in science fiction (relating to an entire organism) was in the 1969 story Nine Lives by Ursula Leguin (irony), and a modern reference to cloning of pets can be seen in the 2000 film The 6th Day. It took ~53 years to go from "impossible thought experiment" to "mildly expensive reality". How cool is that?

IAmJesusOfCatzareth5 karma

I think cloning is absolutely fascinating so I'm happy to talk about it!

darthkyle224 karma

Does it do any of the things your previous cat did? Like attitude, comforts, sounds

IAmJesusOfCatzareth10 karma

Some similar things like the way she sleeps with me, the specific pets she chose to hang around most, propensity to knock things over constantly, waking me up in the morning. Many are cat things, but of my 4, only she does them.

tanasho4 karma

Does she smell like windex?

IAmJesusOfCatzareth3 karma

She might.

linetool2 karma

Does the clone produce the same smells as the original cat?

IAmJesusOfCatzareth4 karma

I asked this to ViaGen and the answer was no. Environmentally based.

itsnotthenetwork2 karma

I don't know why but I have a real urge to ask you if you cloned your cat in a pet cemetery, behind an old house, off a really busy rural road.

But instead, did the cat's behaviors also clone with it or does the cat feel like an entirely different animal? I feel like it would say a lot about the existence of a soul.

IAmJesusOfCatzareth7 karma

Lol I get it a lot but you win first on Reddit.

Different animal. She is a different animal. I don't believe in souls but if I did, I wouldn't believe in soul hopping like that.

cy13erpunk2 karma

thinking about the nature/nurture argument ; why did you choose to go ahead with the cloning ; knowing that the new kitten will not necessarily grow up to be the same cat as before ; but it will most certainly have the same health issues?

i find the idea of cloning my animals very interesting ; but more than anything i would rather extend/improve their lives or their brains ; instead of cloning them i could just adopt another animal in need from a shelter instead

i could definitely see wanting to clone a cat that lived a long time like Creme Puff [THIRTY-EIGHT YEARS OLD CAT] ; becuz retaining those genes seems super-valuable

IAmJesusOfCatzareth4 karma

There were no health issues that were genetic that would carry over. I would never have cloned if I hadn't had a genetic health test. Everything from kittenhood was viral/bacterial.

freemason7772 karma

What are your biggest reflections on the process? What surprised you about the process of getting a pet cloned?

IAmJesusOfCatzareth4 karma

Reflections...the wait. Emotionally, I wasn't ready early on, so I'm glad it took as long as it did. Surprising... I don't know, really! I was ready for all the things, I think.

Ailyssa1 karma

hey, I just want to say that I'm happy for you. It's an incredible, almost magical thing to be with your friend again, even if you consider her to be a different cat. it may not really be her, but it's not not her. those are her eyes, same as they used to be, and her feet, and her fur, that's unchanged. My best friend Morgan, my cat, died almost 8 months ago at age 17 to cancer and I would do anything, absolutely anything to get a chance like this. you're very lucky and I hope both of you share a wonderful time together.

If it's ok I'd like to ask you a few questions

- Is memory stored in DNA? does your cat 'recognize' you, remember things? I understand it's a hard question, because well, communication with animals isn't easy but I always imagine that I would know if it was her.

- when you decided to clone, did you have to take a tissue biopsy/i don't know the word but alive tissue and send that to the lab prior to her death? in movies a single hair is apparently magically enough but I don't think that is the case. what if you have a full box of hair, some with the root, claws, skin flakes?

IAmJesusOfCatzareth1 karma

Memory is not stored in DNA, no. And yes, skin tissue biopsy is what they use to collect cells.

HylianBokoblin-1 karma

do you think your cat (or any cat) has the equivalence of a human soul?

are you religious?

this is interesting, thank you for sharing! give kitty a scratch for me!

IAmJesusOfCatzareth6 karma

Not religious! :)