Cat Mom & Her Cloned Kitty Are Teaching Others The Truth About Cloning

Written by: Kelli Brinegar
For more than five years, Kelli Brinegar has been using her ability to write and her passion for research to tell the tale of what cats are thinking and why. She has provided care to more than 30 cats in her lifetime.Read more
| Published on April 7, 2022

When considering cloning a cat, here’s something significant to remember. The cloned kitty won’t be an exact replica of their predecessor. While the physical similarities will prove astounding, every cat is a unique being with their very own personality regardless of their beginnings. And that’s what Kelly Anderson wants people to understand.

It’s important to enter the idea of cloning knowing it isn’t cheap, with entry prices starting at $35K. The process can also bring more emotional turmoil on top of losing your beloved cat, as not every attempt takes, leaving your hopes up in the air time and again. But once the dream of seeing the past come to life arrives, the joy is worth the risk, and Kelly and her cloned kitty Belle have taken to social media to show the world what cloning is all about.

Decision to Clone:

When Kelly’s cat Chai died unexpectedly in March of 2017, she was crushed, sharing, “This was not only too soon and completely unexpected, but a part of my heart was literally torn away that day.”

Caught in the abyss of losing her best friend, Kelly had a conversation with her vet-tech roommate that turned to cloning.

“I started doing a lot of research and looked into ViaGen a lot,” Kelly told The Sun. “I called them the second they opened the next morning, and the process from there was basically getting my vet to work with them to get a skin biopsy (from Chai).”

Four years later, Kelly welcomed Chai’s clone to the family, writing on her website, “On August 20, 2021—nearly ten years to the day from Chai’s birth and an apropos nod to her 2.0 status—Belle was born via a surrogate cat in a ViaGen lab.”

And while Belle is not Chai, the cat mom is happy to have Chai’s memory living on in her new feline friend.

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Similar Look, New Cat

Belle may be a clone of Chai’s genetics, but science can’t replicate spirit. Though they looked similar, the two cats were quite different, with Kelly explaining that her silly Belle “is the troublemaker” of her four-cat clowder.

“I have all my other cats who are between three and almost 13. This is my oldest,” said Kelly. “They’re all pretty chill, and then there’s Belle.”

“She’s a kitten and she wants to play all the time. She’s really rambunctious like any other six-month-old kitten,” Kelly shared. “She’s very affectionate and inquisitive and just bold. She has no fear at all she loves going out to new places.”

And in these ways, Belle is quite different from the calm and quiet Chai.

While both kitties were sassy cats to their cores, Chai wasn’t a cuddler, nor was she as energetic and curious as clone Belle. Like most kitties, Chai also enjoyed a snack, but Belle is human-food obsessed “to the point of being obnoxious.” And when it comes to the sound of their meows, Kelly described Chai’s speech as a higher-pitched meowing that sounded “normal” when pitted against Belle and her “plethora of strange, low-ranging meows that are very guttural.”

So, when examining original and clone, you can see that appearance falls close, but purrsonality varies widely.

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A post shared by A husky + a cloned kitty (@clonekitty)

Hate Mail and Misunderstandings

Sadly, Kelly regularly receives hateful messages on TikTok, explaining to The Sun, “Some have ethical problems but some claim I’m using a cloned cat to make money on social media.”

But Kelly stated that’s simply not true.

“I’m making nothing off this. I just loved Chai so much. That’s the only reason I cloned him.”

Another thing Kelly wants people to understand. Just because she cloned a beloved cat doesn’t mean she doesn’t love shelter cats. She’s fostered more than one hundred cats and has adopted many times as well.

“There was just something special and different about Chai. I don’t know really, I can’t put it into words. She was just that pet for me. I’ve never had a pet like her. And I wanted to carry on a piece of her.”

And now, Kelly has accomplished that with Viagen’s help. While Chai is gone, Kelly and Belle can cherish her memory together while teaching others what cloning pets is all about. Follow the Clone Kitty of TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook.

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@clonekitty Does your cloned cat have the same personality as the original cat? #cloningisreal #ragdoll #science #naturevsnurture #scienceiscool #catsoftiktok ♬ Paper Birds (3 min) – Jordan Halpern Schwartz

Feature Image: @clonekitty/Instagram