Pet cloning becomes popular among Instagrammers

The cloned pet will have the same DNA as the original pet, but its own personality.
The cloned pet will have the same DNA as the original pet, but its own personality. Photo credit: Supplied/The Hub Hornby

Social media influencers are cloning their dead pets to keep their Instagram accounts alive.

Photographer Courtney Udvar-Hazy cloned her wolf-dog hybrid Willow after she unexpectedly died, Newsweek reported.

Willow had a large following on the account @WanderwithWillow, but after her death, the account still remains active.

Now Udvar-Hazy's posts pictures on the account of new pup Phoenix, Willow's clone.

The first cloned mammal was Dolly the Sheep in 2003, but it wasn't until Barbra Streisand cloned her dog in 2018 that pet cloning really took off, the BBC reported.

Pet cloning works by extracting a sample of DNA from the pet to be cloned and preserving it. An egg from a donor dog is then fertilized and removed from the dog, where the scientists remove the DNA from the egg and replace it with the cloned DNA sample, Vanity Fair reported.

The cloned pet will have the same DNA as the original pet, but it will still develop its own personality that may differ from the original.

Currently, it costs around $50,000 (USD) to clone a dog and $35,000 (USD) for cats, Newsweek reported.

The process is not a quick fix for grieving families, with one Instagrammer saying it took about four years to have her cat cloned.

Kelly Anderson, had her Ragdoll cat named Chai cloned after she unexpectedly died while in the care of a pet sitter, Newsroom reported.

Anderson ran an Instagram account @adogandacat for Chai with more than 64,000 followers.

She told Newsweek she wasn't sure how to keep the page active and while cloning pets typically requires live skin cells since Chai had been frozen at the vet ViaGen Pets were able to clone her cat.

ViaGen Pets, a pet cloning company, claims cloned pets are no more susceptible to health problems and "live full, healthy and happy lives".