Domestic Cats to Become Surrogate Mothers To Tigers!

In a far-fetched proposal to help save the highly endangered tiger domestic cats might become surrogate mothers to tiger cubs (it would be a “gestational surrogacy” as I understand it). This is a proposal by a scientist, Dr Franklin West. Dr West is an expert in stem cell science. He proposes creating stem cells from the skin cells of tigers and then from stem cells make a sperm and an egg.

Bengal tiger cub
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Bengal tiger cub. The cutest animal you’ll see.

The sperm and egg are then put together to create an embryo inside the body of a female domestic cat. As for the obvious problem regarding size, Dr West proposes that the restrictions in space inside a domestic cat for the embryo of a tiger to develop would reduce the size of the embryo and then the kitten (perhaps better described as a cub) could be delivered through a Caesarean section.

Tender mother cat love towards offspring

Tender mother cat love towards offspring

That is the nub of it and it does seem awfully far-fetched and Frankensteinesque. For me, the biggest obstacle would seem to be the difference in size because even the smallest tiger kitten at birth would be far larger than a domestic cat kitten and it would seem that the anatomy of a domestic cat will be unable to accommodate a tiger embryo.

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I suppose, you can see how desperate humankind has become in trying to save the tiger if such a proposal as this is being seriously made. The biggest obstacle, Dr West says is funding for the program. He is launching a crowd funding webpage to hope to raise enough money from donors to run the project to completion.

I am going to be brutally frank and suggest the crowd funding will fail. This is a scientific study that is a step too far. Also I am not sure it can be justified because it is possible that domestic cat surrogate mothers might be harmed. It is difficult to justify helping to try and save one species while killing an individual of another species.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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