Viewers of ITV's This Morning programme were left split by a guest’s story about cloning her beloved cat to create a new version.
Mourning the loss of a pet can occasionally feel like the death of a family member, and when Kelly Anderson's cat Chai died unexpectedly, she took the radical step of getting her cloned.
Cloning is the process of creating a genetically identical copy of an organism, meaning that when Kelly decided to use the procedure, she was left with a new cat that shared the DNA of her old one.
Introducing the animal lover on today’s (April 6) show, Dermot O’Leary explained that Kelly had forked out $25,000 (roughly £19,000) to clone her cat Chai.
“Chai was the closest thing that I had to a soul mate,” Kelly remembered. And, she described how after her beloved pet had died “very young” she decided to consider cloning.
“It took four years, we started in 2017 so it was not the normal length of time, they have told me. But it was definitely worth the wait.”
Drilling into the process of cloning, Kelly explained that a vet ran a “skin biopsy” on Chai, which can be conducted when the animal is alive or shortly after they have passed away. This then allows scientists to replicate the old pet’s DNA in a new cat.
But despite the expensive process of cloning, Kelly admitted that her new cat Belle didn’t behave exactly like her former housemate.
“She’s her own cat,” she said. “I never really expected her to be Chai, I never wanted her to be Chai, to me that felt like a replacement.
“But it’s a piece of Chai, so that’s what matters most to me, I get to carry on a piece of her.”
So, having adopted various cats since and before having Chai, Kelly explained that the decision to clone her feline friend had been the result of circumstance, saying: “Because Chai was so young I just felt like I didn’t have that time with her.”
Because of the large amount of cash that she parted with to be reunited with her four-legged friend, Kelly told the programme that she had been subject to trolling from people online.
“People have lots of opinions about how I spend my money mostly,” she added. “$25,000 is definitely a lot of money, but people spend that money on cars every day, or more, and no one says anything about that.”
“Well, it’s your money and you’re entitled to spend it how you want,” Dermot agreed.
But viewers of the show were torn about how to react to Kelly’s decision. One Twitter user responded: “I would clone the cat if it wasn’t so pricey.”
Another disagreed, observing: “Let’s be honest, it could be any old white cat… mugging!”
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