January, 2005
by Lea Filson

It's a chilly winter day and as I write this, Sinclair is curled up against the warmest part of my computer. I look at him and marvel at how much his companionship has meant to me. It reminds me to tell you how you can also enjoy the comforts of a cat.

There lives an extraordinary group of cats in an atmosphere of warmth and discovery in New Orleans. Together they are loved and pampered by night, but by day they work for a living. These exceptional felines, you see, are contributing their many talents and bodies to science.

The Audubon Nature Institute's Center for Research of Endangered Species is the place they call home. It is this very group of American Domestic moms that made headline news after one of them "produced" an African Wildcat named 'Jazz'. Adored and watched with interest by the world, 'Jazz' made headlines as the world's first wildcat born through an interspecies frozen/thawed embryo transfer. Freezing a wildcat embryo in liquid nitrogen, thawing it and then implanting it into the domestic cat surrogate accomplished the birth. 'Jazz's' mother, as well as all the other domestic cats that played a part in this new science, today live quietly, peacefully, and privately out of the limelight. Little does it matter to them that their important work is saving an entire species from becoming extinct.

From the same group of domestic cats the world's first cloned exotic cats have joined the universe. Ditteaux was clone number one, followed by Miles, Katie, and Madge. There are even cloned exotic cat triplets that have moved on to Audubon Zoo. All are celebrated and photographed and watched with interest as they grow.

The plain, domestic Mama cats that produced these wonders of nature remain at the Center for Research of Endangered Species. Some have been used as surrogate mothers for small endangered cats. Others have been given periods of rest between the work assignments being done there. All have continued to receive the love and respect they deserve.

The beautiful domestic cats of varied colors, personalities, and ages have toiled through adventure together at the Center, but the time has come for them to move on. They are ready now for loving homes with owners who will give them grateful appreciation for their work toward the betterment of the world through science. Each mother cat has been spayed and vaccinated, and hopes daily for the chance to live in a real home with soft pillows, good food, and toys.

Every cat that has lived on this Earth has contributed its share of lessons to mankind. But imagine owning one that has also contributed to science? Once a decision has been made to welcome one of these creatures full of wonder, how interesting it would be to share one's home with a companion animal that has a history of accomplishment.

"This is my cat," you could say with pride, "and she was part of the group of cats that "produced" the world's first cloned exotic cat!" Even Sinclair, my muse and the light of my life, would have trouble trumping this statement. As I look at him, he yawns and gives me an understanding gaze. He knows what I'm writing and hopes for homes for his feline friends patiently waiting at the Center for Research of Endangered Species.

Under the direction of Dr. Betsy Dresser who runs the Center, Stella Sullivan has been put in charge of determining if your home is acceptable for one of these amazing felines. If you have an interest in exploring the possibility of owning one of these cats, she would love to discuss it with you. Call her today at 504/398-3125.


Send your animal photos and stories to:
Sinclair and Lea
P.O. Box 51721
New Orleans, LA 70151-1721

Home | Column | Membership | Photo Gallery | Contacts | Links

Site created by