Cloning cats takes bite, hiss out of picking pets to share life

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 29, 2004

[10/10/04] My Stephen King phase ended after I read “Christine” about a possessed red-and-white 1958 Plymouth Fury, and then thought I saw her on Hwy. 25. The phase started with a dead cat named Church.

The main character in “Pet Sematary,” the scariest King novel, doesn’t want his daughter to find out her pet died, so he takes it to a place behind the pet cemetery. It’s a burial ground behind the burial ground about which he’s heard tales. If an animal is buried there, the story goes, it will come back to life. And come back to life the animals do but they’re different.

The resurrected animals usually end up disturbing their owners so much that they end up killing the animal themselves the second time around.

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I couldn’t help thinking about Church the cat when I read an almost equally scary article from about two kittens Tabouli and Baba Ganoush who are genetic duplicates of a cat named Tahini.

Having a cat I named Chick P. after her Middle Eastern Grocery Store origin, I like their names.

Spending $50,000 to clone a cat or a dog when there are so many homeless pets ought to qualify as pure evil, a sin that gives you a go-straight-to-hell-do-not-pass-go card. Genetic Savings & Clone says that there is a “huge interest in cloning cats.” I find that incomprehensible and I live with three cats.

I’ve had Chick P. and her spawn, Calypso, with me for six years, and Jake the cat and Ruby the dog are recent additions to my household. I’m not embarrassed to say that I’ll be grief-stricken when they leave me.

Chick P. and Calypso are particularly attractive and good-natured for cats, anyway. Looks like if I can come up with $50,000, I might be able to enjoy them indefinitely.

As an animal lover, I can’t even bring myself to look up the number of unwanted animals who are exterminated every day.

That’s my bleeding-heart stance born from taking homeless animals into my life. I still have agonizing thoughts of my dog’s littermates left behind.

When I make my request for Calypso Revisited, should I ask that not only the clone have her beautiful calico markings but that she wake me up every morning by walking across my head?

When I fill out the form for Chick P. Squared, I need to remember to include the trait of growling like a dog when something blocks her from her food bowl. As long as I’m cloning, the Revamped Jake should attack my feet while I sleep. And Ruby Redone will be a 61-lb. hound but have the self-image of a 10-lb. poodle.

Over the years I’ve shared quarters with several cats, a bird and a dog. They’ve all been more trouble and more joy than I bargained.

Life is more beautiful, more joyous when you can let there be surprises and cats and dogs bring surprise as surely as they bring fleas and fur. This cloning thing flies in the face of that idea. Trying to clone to control a cat?

Come to think of it, I’d like to see someone try.

Sonya Kimbrell is features editor of The Vicksburg Post. E-mail her at