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All Ball was a pet cat of Koko, the famous gorilla living in Woodside, Californiamarker, who is purported to communicate via sign language. In the summer of 1984, Koko asked her trainer, Dr. Francine 'Penny' Patterson, for a cat. Koko selected a gray male Manx from a litter of abandoned kittens and named him "All Ball". This breed is unusual in that it has no tail, and researchers wondered whether that influenced Koko's choice. Koko cared for the kitten as if it were a baby gorilla. In December of that same year, All Ball escaped from Koko's cage and was hit and killed by a car.

Later, upon learning that All Ball had gone, Koko communicated with her trainers using the sign language symbols for "cry" and "sad". Researchers noted this in the debate over whether non-human species can have human-like emotions.

In 1985, Koko was allowed to pick out two new kittens from a litter to be her companions. The animals she chose, later named "Lipstick" and "Smokey," were also Manxes like All Ball.

Koko's relationship with All Ball was featured in the 1987 book Koko's Kitten (Scholastic Press, ISBN 0-590-44425-5), which was written by Dr. Patterson.


  • Patterson, Dr. Francine (1987). Koko's Kitten. Scholastic, Inc. ISBN 0-590-44425-5

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