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CC, the world's first cloned cat, passes away in College Station

Posted at 9:51 AM, Mar 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-05 11:26:45-05

COLLEGE STATION, TX — The world's first cloned cat has died in College Station.

CC, short for Copy Cat, passed away at the age of 18 after being diagnosed with kidney failure, according to Texas A&M'S Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences.

CC's life began on Dec. 22, 2001 after groundbreaking cloning work done by Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM) researchers.

Copy Cat was adopted by a senior professor in the college's Reproduction Science Laboratory six months after her birth.

“We in the CVM are saddened by the passing of CC. As the first cloned cat, CC advanced science by helping all in the scientific community understand that cloning can be effective in producing a healthy animal,” said Dr. Eleanor M. Green, the Carl B. King dean of Veterinary Medicine at Texas A&M.

“While she lived a long, normal, and happy life, CC was extraordinary in what she represented to the Kraemers, the CVM, and science as a whole,” Green said. “The entire CVM community mourns her loss, as all at Texas A&M cared deeply about her as a member of the Aggie family, and especially for the Kraemers, for whom CC was a beloved pet for 18 years.”

CC was produced using nuclear transfer of DNA from cells that were derived from a female domestic shorthair named Rainbow, according to Texas A&M.

Kraemer and other scientists transferred the embryos into a surrogate mother who gave birth two months later.

“CC was the biggest story out of A&M ever and still is, as far as international reach is concerned,” Kraemer said. “Every paper and magazine had pictures of her in it. She was one of the biggest accomplishments of my career.”

“CC’s passing makes me reflect on my own life as much as hers,” Westhusin said. “Cloning now is becoming so common, but it was incredible when it was beginning. Our work with CC was an important seed to plant to keep the science and the ideas and imagination moving forward.”

CC became a mother when she was 5-years-old to three kittens that lives with CC for the rest of her life in a custom "cat house."

Though CC was the first successfully cloned pet, Texas A&M has gone on to clone more species than any other institution in the world, including horses, pigs, goats, cattle, and deer.