Koko's Kittens

Koko got her first kitten in 1983, when she was about 12 years old.  After years of having dolls and plush animals, she finally convinced Penny that she was ready to take care of a real kitten.  Unfortunately, the tail-less gray kitten that Koko named ALL BALL was hit by a car on a logging road, after living with Koko for only 6 months.  Koko grieved for ALL BALL, signing CRY, FROWN, SAD, TROUBLE when she first learned what happened.  To this day, she feels sad when she sees a photo of another kitten who reminds her of ALL BALL.  The story of Koko and ALL BALL has been immortalized in the award-winning children's book Koko's Kitten, and has helped evoke empathy for great apes and great ape conservation world-wide.

It took Koko a while before she was ready to adopt a new kitten after ALL BALL, but the little red tabby she named LIPS LIPSTICK was just as cute as ALL BALL and they developed a close bond.


Koko named her third kitten SMOKY because of her gray smoky color. SMOKY lived with Koko for almost 20 years, before passing on of natural causes.

In 2010, Koko had a series of kitten visits, thanks to the Humane Society.

Contact Us



The Gorilla Foundation / Koko.org
1733 Woodside Rd., Suite 330
Redwood City, CA, 94061
1-800-ME-GO-APE (634-6273)

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Our mission is to learn about gorillas by communicating with them, and apply our knowledge to advance great ape conservation, education, care and empathy.

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