A Brief Conversation with the House Cat who Gave Birth to an African Wildcat
On Nov. 24th, 1999, a 6-year-old American shorthair cat named Cayenne gave
birth to an African wildcat kitten named Jazz. This was an amazing,
unprecedented feat of transferring a frozen embryo between species, and may
harbor a ray of hope for other endangered species. We sat down with Cayenne
and asked her about her important role in history.
Brunching Shuttlecocks: Cayenne, thank you for taking the time to speak with
us, we know how busy you are.
Cayenne: Well, I do have a freaky-looking furball nursing on me at all hours
of the night.
BS: Yes, let's talk about your kitten, Jazz...
C: Ugly thing. Must take after his father. Looks nothing like me.
BS: .. well yes, but that's because you're not the actual mother.
C: Oh, what, you're gonna lay that whole surrogate crap on me? I carried
this monster to term! If I'm not the mother, then where is she? Huh?
Where's this so-called 'other mother'? Huh? She's out on the STREET, that's
BS: You feel very strongly about this.
C: Look, I know little Jazz was implanted in me as an embryo. I'm not
stupid. But you think I'm not his mother? Who's nursing the brat when he's
howling in hunger? Whose nipples are raw as jerky? That would be me,
BS: Yes, of course. I don't mean to imply that you weren't due your fair
share of motherly accolades.
C: Damn straight! Keep those kitty showers coming! I want gifts! I'm
partial to catnip and old fish.
BS: Who isn't? Tell me, do you ever think about your place in history?
What you've accomplished is ground-breaking.
C: My place in history? I dunno. Hadn't thought about it much. I'd like
to revered. Yeah, that'd be pretty cool.
C: You know. "There goes Cayenne, the revered ground-breaking American
shorthair cat." Sounds a lot better than "There goes Cayenne, the perfectly
ordinary housecat who destroyed my couch."
BS: Yes, I see. Cayenne, since the birth of young Jazz was so successful,
what's next on your schedule?
C: Well, I'm all for pumping out more of these critters. I was born to be a
mother. Just wish they could inject some cute embryos into me next time. I
mean have you seen that kitten! Ugly with a capitol Uhg!
BS: Well, there has been talk that your work will lead to a better chance
to save endangered species, or even bring extinct species back to life. They
are working on trying embryo implantation with other endangered species such as other exotic
cats, bongo antelopes or the African Elephant.
BS: That's correct.
C: Well all right, but God knows how I'll nurse it.