Kelowna woman learning to live with her two cloned kittens

Cloned kittens ready for life

Rob Gibson

A Kelowna woman has gained worldwide attention after successfully cloning her dead cat 'Bear.'

A French television network and HBO are working on documentaries on the cloning process, and People Magazine featured the cloned kittens.

"I've always had cats, so this feels like my life is back to normal," said Kris Stewart.

Stewart started the cloning process two years ago at Viagen after her cat Bear was hit by a car. She said she now has two kittens that are identical DNA matches.

The process wasn't cheap, costing $55,000 CDN, but she has no regrets.

"This is a perfect fit for me and where my interests are. I love animals. I missed Bear. This, to me, was an opportunity to see science in action and to bring back at least memories of Bear."

Stewart owns and is the CEO of Advanced Care Group in Kelowna, and she has always had a keen respect for science.

"To people that have cherished pets, I would say you know you can get cell collection done. It's painless. to me, there's no ethical issues with cloning," Stewart says.

The kittens have had their first checkup with the Stewart's Kelowna veterinarian and have a clean bill of health.

"They're pretty much joined at the hip. They play in unison together, roam from room to room together. There's not much they don't do together. They sleep curled up together wherever they are. Perfectly normal. They just don't know how special they are. They act like any other kitten," Stewart says.

The two new kittens are named 'Bear Bear' and 'Honey Bear.' So far, both seem to be similar, if not identical, to the original.

"I'm waiting for them to grow big enough to fit securely into their escape-proof harnesses so that I can take them outdoors on a leash — take them out on my kayak and on hikes."

Stewart found her original cat Bear in the Castanet classifieds three years ago. Despite only having him for 10 months she built a bond that still lives on.

Her biggest problem now is just telling the two new kittens apart.

Stewart says she has shared her story to let others know that cloning pets is possible.

"There are plenty of people who love their pets to no end. And some will have the ability to do what I've done, which is to clone their cherished pet," Stewart said.

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