Some of you may recall seeing an article we wrote back in January of 2017 called: Would You Consider Cloning Your Cat? The topic of cloning has always been fascinating to us (and judging by the article’s response, to many of our readers also).
Cloning is no longer science fiction and its growing popularity continues to attract supporters on both sides of the argument, but our purpose in this post, is not to debate the pro’s and con’s, but rather to share a most remarkable love story of two gorgeous kittens that were recently cloned. More on them later, but to whet your appetite, meet brothers Zine Jr. and Zinou (below). Stunning aren’t they? >^..^<
Credit: The animal loving team at ViaGen Pets (renowned as America’s pet cloning and genetic preservation experts) were kind enough to give us permission to contact their client and share his very personal story. Our sincerest thanks to both!
The story begins with a handsome white cat named Zine (photo below). His owner whom we shall call Sam (for anonymity) had always wanted a cat growing up and waited patiently for 13 years until his parents finally moved into a house. At that point the search for a feline was on and within a month he received a call from a good friend who had just found a 1 month old malnourished kitten wandering outside. Operation Rescue immediately went into effect and it was love at first sight! Sam named the wee kitten Zine and the two became best friends. We were curious at Sam’s choice of name for his kitty and he told us that Zine means “Cute Boy” in Arabic. Very apropos.
Sam explains, “The 13 year wait was worth it as Zine taught me how to love, and he was the first I ever said ‘I love you’ to.” Sam shared that Zine was quite a naughty rascal from the moment that he moved into the house – busy and ever curious he occasionally scratched Sam’s forearms but never in anger, only during playtime. Sam had Zine neutered when he was 5 months as he loved to venture outdoors and explore. Zine had a very consistent and predictable daily routine. He’d leave the house at 6:00 am every morning and promptly return for lunch at 11:45 am. After lunch he’d venture out again and return at 6:45 pm for dinner and then remain indoors until morning. However, in summer he’d often stay out quite late with Sam frequently waiting with the porch light on for him to return.
Fast forward 12 wonderful years to 2015 when Sam becomes devastated on learning that Zine is diagnosed with an incurable fibrosarcoma (a cancerous mass arising from bone, cartilage, fat or muscle) that had developed at the injection site of Zine’s vaccines [reference: PetMD vaccine-associated sarcoma in cats].
He was given only 6 months to live but miraculously survived for 18 months. Zine’s health deteriorated in the final weeks of his life and he passed peacefully at the age of 13 1/2 in December of 2016. Prior to this Sam had thoroughly investigated the possibility undergoing Genetic Preservation with ViaGen Pets hoping that the ultimate goal would be to clone Zine. In Sam’s words, “I decided to clone my cat, Zine, because he was the love of my life.”
On the day of Zine’s passing, Sam had his vet procure and send off the necessary cell samples for ViaGen Pets to genetically preserve Zine’s DNA and so the process began. It wasn’t until December of 2017 that ViaGen Pets impregnated a suitable surrogate cat with Zine’s fertilized embryos and several months later on Feb. 23, 2018 two beautiful healthy cloned kittens were born.
Needless to say Sam was ecstatic! He named the brothers Zine Jr. and Zinou (Zine Jr. has two spots on his head and Zinou has one spot).
Sam shares, “Zine Jr. and Zinou behave very similarly to Zine who was the ruler of their house, and the kittens are working their way into that role. Much like Zine, the kittens are very interested in sneaking out and exploring the backyard. At the time of this writing (July 2018) the kittens are nearly 5 months old, and they still like to nurse on their blanket. This was something that Zine did all his life, but instead of a blanket, he liked to nurse on my mother’s pajamas. I’ve started introducing a few of Zine’s favorite foods to see if the kittens like them as well. So far they have tried yogurt, cottage cheese, and lamb; and they love them all just as Zine did.”
“As the kittens grow, I imagine some differences may emerge. Right now, I’ve focused on looking for the similarities. One thing that is different is the spots on the fur. I anticipated this though, since the spots are developed during the pregnancy.”
In case you’re curious Sam also adopted the surrogate mom (affectionately named Cozy Hope – see above photo on left). And the kittens also have 3 other rescue cats who live with them in the home.
Sam said that his ViaGen Pets support team were exceptional throughout the whole cloning experience – they were extremely attentive and responsive whenever he had questions or concerns. The hardest part for him was waiting for his kittens to be born.
“We’re thrilled to see the joy that Zine Jr. & Zinou have brought to Sam and his family. We are excited to watch them grow!” ~ Codi Lamb, Client Service Team – ViaGen Pets.
In closing we had to ask the obvious and here’s how Sam responded: “Cloning is worth it, but it is as stressful as doing in vitro fertilization (IVF).”
Would he do it again? We’re betting yes, but stay tuned…
What does it cost? Price range? It is a beautiful story. Enjoy your babies. I wish I could clone my cat. He is 18 and I live him so much!
While I do not believe cloning is ethical or moral, especially while millions of wonderful, sweet, deserving cats’ lives are taken annually due to their not having loving permanent homes, I read this story with interest. Cloning does not result in a carbon copy of a beloved, as each individual IS an individual, with an individual (and one hopes, cherished) personality; so those who wish they could clone their cat would do well to research the subject completely, and realize that it would never give them the result they want. Just as there will only ever be one YOU, there will only ever be one of each of your beloved cats. Cherish them while they are with you, remember them always with much love, and be grateful that they shared their lives with you.
THE SARCOMA THAT KILLED ZINE ALSO ATTACKED MY CAT GREY STONE AGAIN FROM THE RABIES INJECTION. IT IS NOT AS RARE AS THEY SAY SO WHEN YOU GET THE 3 YEAR RABIES SHOT GET THE SAFE VERSION. IT IS ABOUT 3x AS MUCH AND WELL WORTH IT.
Isn’t it about $50,00? That is what Lisa Vanderpump was quoted. But, she feels like I do…That money could help so many more animals have better lives. I shelter elderly rescue cats, and I struggle to take care of them. I clean houses as a maid, so they can eat canned cat food. I didn’t seek any of these cats out. They came to my house or were dumped. No one wants an old cat that has no teeth. They also have health issues just like elderly people do. I have 12 at the moment, having lost 3 last year, and my Special in January. They are happy and healthy and loved. I disapprove of this cloning. You can love a shelter cats just as much.
Cloning a cat is not the same as having the original cat. Why anyone would want to bring more kittens into a world already overburdened with them is beyond me. While I am sorry this person lost his cat, I do not approve of cloning.
cloning is very expensive. I have read it is about 100k. a polo player in Argentina has been cloning his polo horses and they cost a fortune. Barbara Streisand cloned her dog. you may get some of the personality traits but not all. they may look similar but there are differences most of the time. it is not like you are getting your true pet back because they don’t always have the same personality. if I had an excess amount of money I would do it though.
Animal shelters, some of whom are extremely underfunded, but who love and want to do the BEST for the animals in their care — LOVE it when someone donates– even when the person does NOT have an excess amount of money to donate.
Whilst I think it is a personal, individual decision to have your cat cloned, I also think (like so many other commenters here have already said) that it is a folly, when there are millions of cats in this world looking to be adopted.
I also have a question… wouldn’t the original Zine’s DNA carry over the cancerous fibrosarcoma genes which *might* condemn the kittens to a rather short life? 13½ is not very old for a cat – I have a 19 year old tabby boy, and his brother died last year at 18….
We asked ViaGen…here’s what they told us:
Cloned animals are not more prone to health issues. Since they do carry the same genetic makeup of the original dog they may have a predisposition to any genetically linked illnesses the original pet may have experienced.
Congratulations!!! Your new babies are so cute!!
I’m very happy that you followed your heart and made YOUR dreams come true!!
Congratulations! How I wish I can afford to clone my beloved Tagger, he died 2 weeks ago and we’ve been together for 19 years, unfortunately, until now I can’t move on and I’m still crying, thank you to my colleagues who sent sympathy and to my boss who understand me and allowing me to grief and to pet cremation in Hampton Roads to help me to prepare Tagger’s arrangement, thank you for the great service. For those interested in Pet Burial and Cremation, you may inquire to their site. By the way, thank you for sharing.
Congratulations! I think that you did the right thing by following your heart. I have a Siamese and she is one of a kind. I have spent 22 years with her so far and I imagine that when the time comes for me to make a decision Viagen will be there to answer the call. My cat was spayed when she was 5 months old and came to me from a breeder that showed cats throughout the year. However, the breeder has since retired and her bloodline is no longer around. I understand that everyone has an opinion but it’s always the same. Donate the money and save the cats. Well, it’s my hard earned money and when I decide to spend it down the road I will use it to my desire. I don’t feel anyone has a right to tell me what to do with it since they don’t pay my bills. Are all you anti-cloners gonna gush to my door when I need a new car? No, I didn’t think so. Thank you for your comments but I think everyone should feel comfortable in making such a choice. Good luck with your kittens and I truly hope you find comfort in knowing that a part of your original cat is with you everyday. What a gift!