“The Sick Kitten” is a British silent short made in 1903. It was directed by George Albert Smith. This is a slowed down version of the film. Early films were usually played back at a quick rate which made them look unnatural and cartoonish.

Of historical note: It is reported to be the first cat video. It is also reportedly the first ever close up in a film. If that’s true the first close up is of a cat. Take that Mr. DeMille. There are three shots to the film. A faraway shot, a close up of the kitten, and then back to a faraway shot. You’ll notice that in the close up shot the little girl is not wearing her apron but in the faraway shots she is.

It is supposed to be an exact remake of a film Smith did in 1901 called “The Little Doctors”. Reportedly the original negative print was worn out from too many prints being made from it. The original film, “The Little Doctors” is now presumed to be lost. I think my favorite part of the film is that the mother cat, who is hovering over everything in the first half of the video, is wearing her own little apron. Much ado has been made of the word FISIK on the label of the medicine bottle. One theory, and it’s a good one, is that it is a child’s rendition of the word Physic. As a noun a Physic is a medicinal agent or preparation. Ergo: medicine. Of course in this instance the medicine the kitten is quick to lap up is probably milk, but no one said medicine had to taste bad.

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