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Kelowna woman cloning a pet – Lake Country Calendar

A nurse and business owner in Kelowna clones her beloved bear.

Kris Stewart takes steps to clone her cat using ViaGen, an American company that specializes in cloning livestock and pets.

Bear was five and a half when he was fatally hit by a car near his home.

“He was resourceful until he wasn’t,” Stewart said.

After the heartbreak of missing out on the opportunity to clone his late dog, Stewart knew time was running out to extract and send a sample of Bear’s cells to the ViaGen lab in Texas.

Bear resting by the window, planning his next adventure (Kris Stewart)

Stewart had to store her cat in her own refrigerator overnight until a vet could perform a biopsy to send to the lab. The next morning, Stewart received a call that the cells had arrived and cell multiplication had begun.

The cells were viable and the lab was able to grow an abundance of bear cells.

Stewart is on a waiting list and hopes to start the next phase in August. ViaGen will insert Bear’s genetic material into an egg which will then be implanted into a surrogate cat.

Three eggs will be implanted, with the hope that at least one will be healthy.

“When it comes to my animals, I don’t see a dollar sign,” she says. The process of cloning her bear will cost around $50,000, but Stewart said it was worth it.

“I just want him to live on,” she said. “His life was too short.

The cloning company boasts that clones have a 95% chance of having the same personality as the original animal.

“The bear was an animal like no other,” Stewart said.

Bear was constantly ready to do mischief and escape.

“He could open locked windows and doors,” she said.

Bear wearing a life jacket to prepare for a kayak ride (Kris Stewart)

Bear wearing a life jacket to prepare for a kayak ride (Kris Stewart)

Stewart has taken every step possible to ensure the safety of his “mountain lion mixed with Houdini.” She barricaded her house with chairs wedged in front of the doors and reinforced the fence in her yard, but it wasn’t enough. The smart cat has always found a way out.

“He’s smarter than any cat or dog I’ve ever owned,” Stewart said.

Stewart bought two GPS trackers for Bear so she could track the feisty feline as he set off on his daily solo adventures.

She said she needed to start taking him on adventures to burn off his extra energy and exercise his mind to keep him out of trouble.

Stewart hopes to have a baby bear by winter and is already planning adventures, but knows that with three times the energy, she’ll have to take extra care to keep the kittens safe.

“I’m going to have to get a carpenter in here to install deadbolts,” Stewart said.

Stewart suggests that people considering pursuing the option consider it as soon as possible.

“If you want to do your pet, you have to do it before it dies,” she said. Biopsies can be taken from live animals and used at any time.


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CatsCity of KelownaPets and People