Eastern Iowa Woman Cloned Her Cherished Cat
*Please note the cat above is only used for representation. It is not one of the cats discussed in this story.
A Cedar Falls woman owned a black cat she just couldn't bear to lose so she took steps to make sure she'd have something very close to him for years to come.
The anonymous retiree took steps to clone Mr. Tufts during his life, with the help of her veterinarian and a pet cloning specialist. She took the cat to Cedar Valley Veterinary Center where Dr. Kevin Christman had never helped clone a pet before. He told the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier,
We had to sedate him and take a little skin, fat and hair – tiny pieces of tissue, like taking a biopsy sample... He was an awesome cat, so what better cat than Mr. Tufts?
The samples were then passed on to a pet cloning and genetic preservation company in Texas. The company, ViaGen Pets, has cloned everything from dogs to a rare Przewalski's horse whose cells had been frozen for four decades. The horse now resides at the San Diego Zoo.
When it was time for Mr. Tufts to be cloned, the company took one of his frozen cells and used that in place of a portion of the egg of a female cat. Once they were joined and an embryo started, it was time to involve a surrogate cat who eventually gave birth to the little fella in late January. Nearly seven months ago, Mr. Tufts Jr. flew to Iowa where his new mom picked him up at the Eastern Iowa Airport.
Mr. Tufts Jr. wasn't the only cat that made the trip from Texas to Iowa, though. The Cedar Falls woman decided to adopt the cat who gave birth to him, as well. She calls her Surri G Momcat.
Both cats are doing great in their new home. Mr. Tufts Jr. now weighs about 8-and-a-half pounds. His owner told the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier this about the original Mr. Tufts: "I had never had such a wonderful creature. It was harder losing him than any other cat I've ever had." Thanks to science, she kind of hasn't had to. Mr. Tufts Jr. reminds her of the original in almost every way and she says, "He's sweet and very affectionate."