Accomplishments and Records

Scientists Create Glow-in-the-Dark Cat — Because Normal Cats Apparently Aren’t Already Sufficiently Weird or Freaky


Let’s face it — not everyone is a cat lover. Cats tend to be aloof, antisocial, and a wee bit bipolar when deciding whether to be affectionate or homicidal. As if all of those characteristics weren’t unsettling enough, scientists have now developed a cat that could be the fuel for many a nightmare: a feline that glows in the dark.

Scientists at the Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species in New Orleans, Louisiana used genetic engineering to create the United States’ first fluorescent cat. Mr. Green Genes appears to be a normal orange tabby under normal lighting. When exposed to ultraviolet light, however, his eyes, gums, and tongue glow a vivid lime green.

An article at NOLA.com reports that the project is the first step toward methods for combatting disease through gene therapy.

Mr. Green Genes under normal lighting conditions (left) and with his glow-in-the-dark features (right). Photo courtesy Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species.

Mr. Green Genes (the name is a play on Mr. Green Jeans, a character in the children’s television program Captain Kangaroo) is the result of efforts to introduce harmless genetic manipulation into a cat. The gene does not affect the cat’s health and will make it quite difficult to misplace him in the dark.

Since cats and humans share a similar genetic makeup, felines are a good choice for experimentation that may ultimately lead to human trials.

A spokesman for the Audubon Center reports that Mr. Green Genes is deeply suspicious of strangers. He spends most of his days napping, and he doesn’t like being held when he doesn’t want to be cuddled. In other words, aside from the fact that he glows in the dark, he is a perfectly normal cat.

In case this story is not unsettling enough for you, there is one other aspect to Mr. Green Genes’ condition. His litter box also glows in the dark.

Admittedly, the editorial staff at Commonplace Fun Facts are all dog people. Even so, we cannot help but conclude that if a glow-in-the-dark cat that produces fluorescent droppings isn’t one of the signs of the Apocalypse, it should be.


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