Kelly Anderson, from the US, spent the small fortune after her five-year-old ragdoll, Chai, died in 2017.
In an appearance on ITV’s This Morning on Wednesday 6 April, Anderson said Chai was “the closest thing she could describe to a soulmate”.
After she died, Anderson sought the help of ViaGen Pets, a Texas-based pet cloning company.
The process involved carrying out a skin biopsy of Chai’s body soon after her death before her cells died.
Anderson welcomed her new cat, Bell, four years later in 2021. In side-by-side photographs, Bell and Chai appear identical.
“It was definitely worth the wait,” Anderson said. “The very first time I met her I picked her up and placed her on my lap, and she fell right asleep.”
ViaGen which also clones dogs, explains that a cloned pet is “simply a genetic” twin of your pet, born at a later date.
“The cloned twin will share many of the key attributes of your current [pet], often including intelligence, temperament and appearance,” it says on its website, adding that it does not alter any of the pet’s original genes and that cloned pets live “full, healthy and happy lives”.
Explaining her decision to clone Chai, Anderson said she felt their time together ended too soon, but she never intended to “replace her”.
When asked by hosts Alison Hammond and Dermot O’Leary if Bell and Chai share any personality traits, Anderson clarified: “[Bell] is her own cat. I never expected her to be Chai, I never wanted her to be Chai. To me, that felt like a replacement.
“But it’s a piece of Chai so that’s what matters most to me. I get to carry on a piece of her.
Anderson, who owns five dogs, also shared that Bell is “the bestest of friends” with the same dog that Chai got on best with.
The unconventional practice has also been adopted by numerous celebrities, including Barbra Streisand and Simon Cowell.
In an interview with the BBC last month, ViaGen did not disclose the exact number of pets it has cloned so far, but said the figure was “in the hundreds”.
“It has grown so much since we first started this, and we’re cloning more and more pets every year,” Melain Rodriguez, a client services manager at the company said. “We’ve got puppies being born every week. We don’t do a lot of advertising, a lot of it is passed on by word of mouth.”
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