Friday, December 24, 2004

The Copy Cat Conundrum

There's been a lot of discussion in the news lately about a Texas woman who paid $50,000.00 to a California cloning company, (called Genetic Savings & Clone, for Heaven's sake!) for a cloned copy of her dead cat, Nicky. Most of the debate has centered around the moral and ethical issues that inevitably grow out of any story about cloning. My thoughts, however, meandered in another direction: I couldn't help wondering what the lady with the spare 50k was thinking.

Okay, I can certainly understand her grief after losing a beloved pet who had been a member of the family for 17 years. We had a cat, Bandit, who died after being with us for 14 years. It broke my heart when she died. But following a reasonable period of bereavement, we went out and bought another cat. She ain't Bandit- she has her own ways and mannerisms and preferences- but she's a nice cat and we're happy with her.

That's the way it's going to be with Nicky II. He may look like Nicky and he'll have Nicky's DNA but that's where the resemblance will end. This new cat, like most sentient creatures, will be shaped by his environments and experiences. He won't have Nicky's memories. He might even respond to things very differently than his predecessor. I can envision Nicky II turning his nose up at the fresh salmon that Nicky salivated over. (You can bet this isn't an owner who feeds her baby Meow Mix.)

As a matter of fact, I wonder what kind of documentation the cloning company provided that cat owner to authenticate Nicky II's true kinship to the late feline? Call me a cynic, but how difficult would it be to find a nine-week-old kitten resembling the dearly departed Nicky?

How can you trust a company called Genetic Savings & Clone?

Wednesday, December 22, 2004


This little note is included in the Dec. 27 issue of Sports Illustrated. Could it be... is it possible... someone is actually listening???

Image hosted by