In Search of Web Parody

Bonsai Kitten Hoax

Posted on: April 19, 2009

A word of warning – some people find this hoax site extremely offensive.  Other people find it funny.  It has an interesting backstory, so that is why I chose this particular site to review today.

The website is called Bonsai Kitten and it purports to offer a kit that allows you to mold your little kitty into the shape of your choice.  Uh, that would be your live little kitty.  But rest assured, the glass vessel that your kitty is stuffed into has air holes and feeding tubes to keep your beloved baby Garfield alive during the time it takes for the kitten to fully grow into the desired shape.

This hoax site was created by some MIT graduate students back in December 2000.   After receiving a number of complaints from animal lovers afraid that the site was real, the FBI launched an investigation.  Several animal rights groups got involved and the ISP shut down the website.  It was subsequently moved to other ISPs and mirrored in multiple locations.  Some of these mirrors were also shut down as a result of the controversy.

The actual website, http://www.bonsaikitten.com was taken down in 2006. The site can be still viewed here via the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine.

 

Bonsai Kitten Hoax website

Bonsai Kitten Hoax website

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