Can You Clone A Dead Cat?

Leonardo da Vinci marveled that “the smallest of felines is a masterpiece.” I believe da Vinci would have thought that pet cloning is totally unnecessary. So do I.

It has been eight years since my favorite cat of all time passed away. My orange tabby, Cinnamon, was eighteen when she died. She lived a good long life, equivalent to 88 human years. She was my cat, and I her human (to paraphrase the writer Hillaire Belloc), for over half my adult life. She taught me the lesson that contentment comes from simplicity – the simplicity of loving, playing, and living in the moment.

Disproving the myth that cats are attached to the place, not the person, Cinnamon was content as long as she was with me, whether riding in the car, visiting relatives overnight, watching television on the sofa, or sleeping on my bed. A kinder, gentler soul could not be found, informs the captioned framed picture in my office. Each and every day I still miss her and the unconditional love she brought into my life.

Cinnamon was my first cat. She taught me what Maude counseled Harold in the classic movie, Harold and Maude, “Go – and love some more.” To that end, I have devoted my avocation to improving the lives of felines however I can. Currently, this includes serving as Vice-President of Meriden Humane Society, a no-kill shelter founded in 1893, and through adopting strays whose paths have crossed mine. They, too, are special, each in their own way.

Last year, millions of animals lost their lives for the lack of those to adopt them. There is no need for cloning while there are countless cats needing good homes. Countless more need support and caring, through kind deeds such as rescues, donating to animal causes, or volunteering at shelters. As the writer, Barbara L. Diamond reflects, “I will always remember the olive-eyed tabby who taught me that not all relationships are meant to last a lifetime. Sometimes just an hour is enough to touch your heart.”

Despite missing Cinnamon each and every day, I recognize that cloning could only produce a cat that looks like her, but would not be her. Cloning copies the looks but not the soul, for as Theophile Gautier penned, “Who can believe that there is no soul behind those luminous eyes!”

Although I miss Cinnamon daily, I comfort myself with the words of the Venerable Bede that, “Death is but a horizon and horizon is but the limit of your sight.” Ultimately, I remind myself of an epithet found in a pet cemetery which reads,

“O heaven will not ever Heaven be
Unless my cats are there to welcome me.”
So, until me meet again, Cinnamon….

Gregory Simpson’s animal welfare involvement spans over 25 years, having provided leadership for several Connecticut organizations, as well as having served as state advisor to the national Friends of Animals. Chosen by CAT FANCY magazine as one of the ultimate cat lovers in the U.S., he is also a member of the Cat Writer’s Association.

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