DALLAS - The cat's out of the bag - a North Texas woman paid $50,000 to have her kitty cloned.
Julie knew Nicky the cat was special.So, the Dallas-area resident stored Nicky's tissue in a California company's gene bank. And when the firm, Genetic Savings & Clone, offered clients the chance to reproduce their precious pets for a price, Julie signed up.This month, she became the first owner of a commercially cloned feline.The copied cat - dubbed Little Nicky - was born in Austin, Texas, and presented to Julie Dec. 10.
Genetic Savings & Clone has not released Julie's last name but reports that the airline industry employee is enamored with her new pet. "I see absolutely no differences between Little Nicky and Nicky," Julie told the company. The woman spoke through the firm and did not respond to requests for an interview.Nicky the elder died at age 17 last year. But Little Nicky has picked up where his predecessor left off.
"When Little Nicky yawned, I even saw two spots inside his mouth, just like Nicky had," Julie said. "Little Nicky loves water like Nicky did, and he's already jumped into the bathtub like Nicky used to do."
Genetic Savings & Clone is the only company to offer cloned pets to paying customers. The company previously funded cloning efforts at Texas A&M University. In 2001, that project produced the first clone of a household pet - a cat named Cc.
Earlier this year, Genetic Savings & Clone launched the "Nine Lives Extravaganza," offering clients the chance to clone a cat for $50,000. Five feline lovers signed up this year, said company spokesman Ben Carlson.
Julie was the first client to receive her cat. Four other cats are in various stages of "production," Carlson said.