In 1943, as part of the postwar plan for the company, Grumman started looking at entering the light aircraft market. The first design was the G-63 Kitten I which was an all-metal two/three-seat cabin monoplane with a retractable tailwheel landing gear and powered by a Lycoming O-290 piston engine. The aircraft first flew on 18 March 1944. Although testing continued, the aircraft did not enter production due to the continuing war effort. The original wing was replaced by a ducted mainplane to improve the lift/drag ration. On 4 February 1946, a version with a retractable nosewheel landing gear and dual controls, the G-72 Kitten II was flown. The Kitten II also has improvements to the wing and the single vertical tail was changed to twin fins, although it reverted to a single fin before it was flown.
In 1947, the G-72 was modified for ducted-wing testing as the G-81, it was fitted with slotted flaps to induce slow flight. It was first flown on 11 February 1947, but the project was abandoned.
G-63 Kitten I
Prototype with retractable tailwheel landing gear, one built.
G-72 Kitten II
Prototype with retractable nosewheel landing gear and dual controls, one built.
G-72 modified for ducted-wing tests.
Capacity: two or three passengers
Length: 19 ft 10 in (6.06 m)
Wingspan: 32 ft 0 in (9.75 m)
Height: 5 ft 9 in (1.76 m)
Wing area: 130 ft2 (12.08 m2)
Empty weight: 1,145 lb (519 kg)
Gross weight: 1,900 lb (862 kg)
Powerplant: 1 Lycoming O-290-A flat-four piston engine, 125 hp (93 kW)
Maximum speed: 149 mph (238 km/h)
On October 30, 2000, BonsaiKitten.com was featured as a "Cruel Site of the Day" on the website Cruel.com. When this attracted complaints, Cruel.com removed its links to BonsaiKitten.com. Afterwards, however, when links to the BonsaiKitten.com website then spread across the world, many concerned animal lovers sent complaints to the Animal Welfare Institute and the Humane Society of the United States. Animal welfare groups made statements saying that Bonsai Kittens were not real. The URL drew criticism, which caused the initial host, MIT, to remove it.
BonsaiKitten.com's pictures show kittens in jars, presented as real examples of the "lost art" as described on the Bonsai Kitten web page. The spoof, according to "Dr. Chang", is that the world increasingly sees nature as a commodity, so such a site may well be in demand. The spoof came to large-scale attention as The Cruel Site of the Day for December 22, 2000, and was continually heavily condemned by animal rights organizations, and after hundreds of people complained daily to them, they stated that even if Bonsai Kitten was a spoof it "encourages animal cruelty".
The webpage being featured on the cruel.com website was significantly controversial and it was quickly removed. Initial humane society statements decrying the website as "encouraging abuse" caused local investigation, along with an FBI announcement that it was to investigate the hoax. The prosecution of the site by the FBI was welcomed by animal activists, but decried by web authorities. The FBI backed up its investigating of Bonsai Kitten by using a law signed by President Bill Clinton in 1999. The attacking of the BonsaiKitten.com website had the effect of displacing the website, which found a new ISP two more times, before being permanently hosted on Rotten.com servers. Because the website is still kept on some mirrors, it continues to receive complaints from animal activists.
The furore over the site triggered by animal rights organizations has been offset by their continued statements that the site itself is a fake. They have been stating this since 2001.