Science 3 min read

Pet Cloning is Becoming a Real Business in China

Utekhina Anna /

Utekhina Anna /

I’ve always been a bonafide cat person, and the few times I didn’t have a cat, you bet I was looking forward to getting one!

Indoor cats can live up to 20 years if not more. But their life expectancy or how long they live with you doesn’t matter. Odds are, you’ll establish a strong connection with your loved feline, and that goes for all pet owners.

Losing a pet can be a very tough experience for some people. It’s always as sad as it gets.

Getting another cat can bring you some comfort and help you get over your loss. But, what if you could get a copy of your original cat — faithful down to the last cell?

Yes, pet cloning is becoming a thing!

Commercial Pet Cloning is Coming

On July 21st, “Garlic,” the first cloned cat in China, was born in the labs of the Sinogene Biotechnology Company in Beijing.

Garlic looks precisely like the original British Shorthair cat who died of urinary tract infection and left its owner Huang Yu devastated.

The cloning experiment started in August 2018 by taking cells from the original cat that were implanted as an embryo into a surrogate cat mother. After 66 days, the usual gestation period, Garlic was born, and now, over five weeks old is healthy and safe.

According to the firm, the life expectancy of cloned cats is about the same as ordinary cats. But while Garlic looks identical to the original cat, he has his personality and temperament.

Unfortunately, the cloning doesn’t involve “memories,” and Huang Yu has to rebuild their relationship from scratch.

The company said it’s considering the use of AI and man-machine interface technology to store or pass memories from the original animal down to their clowned version.

But pet cloning doesn’t come cheap! Garlic set its owner back 250,000 yuan or $35,400, and it would cost other cat owners who would like to clone them the same amount.

The company said that, after the successful cloning of Garlic, it has already started booking orders from several customers.

So that dog lovers don’t feel left out, the company also offers its pet cloning services for dogs, but with a much heftier price tag. A cloned dog can cost you 380,000 yuan, or over $53,500 in US dollars.

According to official stats, China has more than 73 million pet owners, with over two-thirds of owning a dog or a cat. So, this is shaping up to be a massive business in the country.

Critics of pet cloning like PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, think it’s better to adopt a pet from the shelter instead of falling for such “inhumane moneymaking fad.”

“Cloning experiments have harmed and killed countless animals in a vain and unsuccessful quest to replicate the very traits and essence of a living being that can’t be replicated, all the while ignoring the fact that other precious, unique individuals are left in desperate need of homes every year, yearning for love and a place in a family,” said PETA.

Other than making pet owners happy, pet cloning technology could be used to protect endangered species.

Read More: Successful Cloning Of Primates Breaks The Barrier To Human Cloning

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Zayan Guedim

Trilingual poet, investigative journalist, and novelist. Zed loves tackling the big existential questions and all-things quantum.

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