Meet Garlic, China’s First Cloned Kitten

Servet TURAN/iStock via Getty Images
Servet TURAN/iStock via Getty Images

Just hours after burying his dearly departed cat, Garlic, in a nearby park, 22-year-old Chinese businessman Huang Yu had a change of heart. He dug him right back up and relocated him to the refrigerator.

Then, The New York Times reports, Huang forked over about $35,000 to a Beijing pet-cloning company called Sinogene, hoping it could bring back his beloved British shorthair, gone too soon from a urinary tract disease. Seven months later, Sinogene debuted China’s first official cat clone (also named Garlic).

As The Scientist explains, Sinogene created 40 clone embryos using Garlic’s skin cells and other cats’ eggs, and then injected those embryos into four host cats. Though three of the cats did get pregnant, two miscarried. The last, luckiest cat surrogate gave birth to Garlic 66 days after insemination.

Sinogene began cloning dogs in 2015 after a survey indicated a healthy demand, and it has since cloned more than 40 dogs, each for about $53,000. The decision to undertake its first cat case was also based on market research that demonstrated cats’ rising popularity in China. Mi Jidong, Sinogene's chief executive, told The New York Times that the company's aspirations don’t stop at house pets; his scientists are currently working on cloning a horse, and pandas and endangered tigers are on the company's long-term to-do list.

China’s lack of nationwide laws against animal cruelty gives Sinogene scientists free reign to experiment with animals in whatever ways they’d like. Critics have long argued that animal cloning is inhumane for both the surrogates and the clones themselves.

Jessica Pierce, a University of Colorado Denver bioethicist, told The New York Times that a cloned pet “has no intrinsic value” and is “used as an object, as a means to somebody’s end.” And cloning is still new enough that we don’t know if the cloned animals will experience adverse effects in their lifetimes—or in the case of wild cloned animals, damage to the species' gene pools.

Other critics take issue with the steep prices for pet clones, suggesting that the money could better aid existing animals.

Though Huang told The New York Times that having Garlic returned to him would have been worth even more than $35,000, he had a different problem with his reincarnated kitten: It didn’t look exactly like the original Garlic, who had a small patch of black fur beneath his mouth that the clone doesn’t have.

“If I tell you I wasn’t disappointed, then I would be lying to you,” he admitted to The Times. “But I’m also willing to accept that there are certain situations in which there are limitations to the technology.”

[h/t The Scientist]

The Reason Why a Puppy in North Carolina Was Born Bright Green

Anastasiia Cherniavskaia, iStock via Getty Images
Anastasiia Cherniavskaia, iStock via Getty Images

When a dog owner in Canton, North Carolina, first saw her new puppy, she knew exactly what to name him. Hulk the infant pup is much smaller than his namesake, but like the comic book character, he's green from head to toe.

As WLOS reports, Hulk was born with a coat of fur the color of avocado toast. He is one of eight puppies in a litter a white German Shepherd named Gypsy delivered the morning of January 10. Even though one came out lime-green, it was healthy, normal birth, according to Gypsy's owner Shana Stamey.

Hulk's unique coloration isn't a sign of any health issues. Meconium—or the matter in the intestines of a fetus—is mostly made of water, but it can also contain something called biliverdin. This chemical makes bile, and when it gets into the amniotic fluid of a birth sac, it can stain a puppy's fur green. This is especially noticeable when the newborn's fur is white, as in Hulk's case. You can see the rare phenomenon in the video below.

After a few weeks of baths and licks from mom, the meconium stains will eventually fade to reveal his natural white coat. But while he won't be green forever, Hulk gets to keep his colorful name for life.

[h/t WLOS]

Not-So-Fancy Feast: Your Cat Probably Would Eat Your Rotting Corpse

Tycson1/iStock via Getty Images
Tycson1/iStock via Getty Images

Cat enthusiasts often cite the warmth and companionship offered by their pet as reasons why they’re so enamored with them. Despite these and other positive attributes, cat lovers are often confronted with the spurious claim that, while their beloved furry pal might adore them when they’re alive, it won’t hesitate to devour their corpse if they should drop dead.

Though that’s often dismissed as negative cat propaganda spread by dog people, it turns out that it’s probably true. Fluffy might indeed feast on your flesh if you happened to expire.

A horrifying new case study published in the Journal of Forensic Sciences offers the fresh evidence. The paper, first reported by The Washington Post, documents how two cats reacted in the presence of a corpse at Colorado Mesa University’s Forensic Investigation Research Station, or body farm, where the deceased are used to further forensic science for criminal investigations.

The study’s authors did not orchestrate a meeting between cat and corpse. The finding happened by accident: Student and lead author Sara Garcia was scanning surveillance footage of the grounds when she noticed a pair of cats trespassing. The cats, she found, were interested in the flesh of two corpses; they gnawed on human tissue while it was still in the early stages of decomposition, stopping only when the bodies began leaching fluids.

The cats, which were putting away one corpse each, didn’t appear to have a taste for variety, as they both returned to the same corpse virtually every night. The two seemed to prefer the shoulder and arm over other body parts.

This visual evidence joins a litany of reports over the years from medical examiners, who have observed the damage left by both cats and dogs who were trapped in homes with deceased owners and proceeded to eat them. It’s believed pets do this when no other food source is available, though in some cases, eating their human has occurred even with a full food bowl. It’s something to consider the next time your cat gives you an affectionate lick on the arm. Maybe it loves you. Or maybe it has something else in mind.

[h/t The Washington Post]

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