The Bonsai Kitten Hoax

Unlike the email about the kitten with two faces, the following one is untrue.

If you receive the email below, which protests against a website where it is suggested that cats are being maltreated, then disregard it and don’t pass it on.

To anyone with love and respect for life: In New York there is a Japanese who sells bonsai-kittens.

Sounds like fun huh?


These animals are squeezed into a bottle.

Their urine and feces are removed through probes.

They feed them with a kind of tube.

They feed them chemicals to keep their bones soft and flexible so the kittens grow into the shape of the bottle.

The animals will stay their as long as they live.


They can’t walk or move or wash themselves.

Bonsai-kittens are becoming a fashion in New York and Asia.

See this horror at:

Please sign this email in protest against these tortures.

If you receive an email with over 500 names, please send a copy to:

From there this protest will be sent to USA and Mexican animal protection organizations.

The Bonsai Kitten was an old internet hoax which claimed to provide instructions on how to grow kittens in bottles as a form of decoration, much like someone might do with a Bonsai tree.

It is suggested that a kitten is placed in a bottle soon after birth and then grows to fit the vessel.

The kitten then allegedly breathes through specially drilled holes in the glass and can be kept as an ornament rather than as a pet.

The original hoax caused uproar when it first surfaced but was wholly untrue.

The parody site was actually a giant ruse designed by a group of MIT graduate students.

The website that they created suggested that people could purchase the necessary equipment from them but that, of course, was not true either.

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.


  1. artifice intelligence says:

    It takes a sick mind to even come up with ideas like this
    it was a joke. :-/
    not to mention actually doing it.
    well.. obviously (that’s part of the joke). The nutty name “bonsai kitten” is also part of the joke, like “kitten huffing”, or “palin kitten” (oops, i meant “sniper kitten”)

  2. I’m sure it paid off as a viral marketing campaign and raised the profile of those behind it though 😉

  3. I remember this story, it’s been going around for years. I remember feeling extremely sorry for the poor kittens. I was so relieved when I heard this was a scam .. It takes a sick mind to even come up with ideas like this, not to mention actually doing it.

  4. I am so glad this is a hox and it sounds completely sick and twisted.

    • I think that was probably the point Katie – it was designed to be as shocking as possible in order to get peoples’ attention.

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