CC, the first cat clone, gave birth to three kittens of her own in 2006

They say cats have nine lives, but CC is striving for more; she recently celebrated her 18th birthday.

For a cat, getting to 18 is an impressive feat, but it is even more so for CC — short for Copy Cat — the world’s first cat clone.

“Dolly the sheep, that was the first of the mammals to be cloned by nuclear transfer, had died at, I think, at 6 years of age,” CC’s owner Duane Kraemer told The Eagle. “So the fact that CC didn’t die young was news.”

Along with caring for CC, Kraemer helped bring the tabby into existence. Kraemer and fellow researcher Mark Westhusin cloned CC at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, after attempting 188 nuclear transfers and producing 82 cloned embryos.

Out of all that work, CC was born on Dec. 22, 2001. All of the animals involved in the research that led to CC were adopted out, including CC herself. Kraemer and his wife were the ones who decided to bring CC home.

And while the first days after CC’s arrival were full of interviews and media attention, things have significantly calmed down for CC and her owner. The pair still do interviews for stories here and there, but, for the most part, the world’s first cat clone leads a normal pet life.

copycat the cloned cat
Credit: Texas A&M University/Getty

She has her own kitty condo at the Kraemer’s house and is weary of strangers, but loves getting pets once she knows you. CC also has three roommates — her three kids. In 2006, CC gave birth to a litter of four kittens, and three of the baby cats survived. According to Kraemer, CC has been an ideal mother to Tim, Zip and Tess.

“My favorite thing is that she’s the first of cloned pets,” Kraemer told KBTX about CC’s, and his, legacy. “There was a lot of interest in her, and there has been for many years.”

There is also a continued interest in cloning pets. Eighteen years after the first pet was cloned, animal lovers, including Barbra Streisand, are now paying thousands of dollars to get clones of their beloved pets.