Copy Cat, world's first cloned cat, dies at 18 in College Station

(Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biological Sciences)

Copy Cat, the world's first cloned cat, passed away this week at the age of 18. She passed away on Tuesday, March 3 due to kidney failure, according to the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biological Sciences. 

CC, short for Copy Cat, was born at Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biological Sciences in 2001 as a result of groundbreaking cloning work done by researchers at the university. She was produced using nuclear transfer of DNA from cells derived from a female domestic shorthair named Rainbow.

Once it was clear the nuclear transfer was successful, Dr. Duane Kraemer, a senior professor in the college’s Reproduction Sciences Laboratory, and other scientists transferred the embryos into a surrogate mother, who gave birth to a healthy kitten about two months later.

Copy Cat was born on December 22, 2001, and was adopted by Kraemer and his wife Shirley six months after her birth, according to the college.

CC also became one of the first cloned cats to become a mother. When CC was five years old, she gave birth to three kittens that lived with her for the rest of her life in a custom, two-story “cat house” in the Kraemers’ backyard.

While CC represented a great advancement in genetic research, to the Kraemers she was also a beloved pet. “CC was a great cat and a real joy,” Kraemer said. “She was part of the family and very special to us. We will miss her every day.”

Before Copy Cat, no pet had ever been successfully cloned with 100 percent genetic identity.

The research that led to CC’s birth kickstarted a global pet cloning industry led by ViaGen Pets, according to Texas A&M University, which today clones cats for $35,000 and dogs for $50,000.