Social media clawing over a kitty-or-not cat-astrophe

Hello Kitty may be celebrating her 40th anniversary this year, but it seems fans may be in for a bigger shock than just her age. The cute, or “kawaii” character - whose face has been on everything from clothes and stationary to smart cars and chainsaws - may look like a cat and have the word “Kitty” in her name insinuating she’s a cat, but the character’s creator, Sanrio, has revealed she is just a girl, not a feline. The shocking discovery was made when University of Hawaii anthropologist Christine R. Yano, who is currently curating a Hello Kitty retrospective for the Japanese American National Museum, did some digging into the popular character’s backstory. Some other lesser known facts about Hello Kitty: she has a twin sister and lives in England, not Japan.

She is a friend. But she is not a cat. She’s never depicted on all fours. She walks and sits like a two-legged creature. She does have a pet cat of her own, however, and it’s called Charmmy Kitty.

Christine Yano , an anthropologist from the University of Hawaii

According to Hello Kitty’s official biography, she “is a cheerful and happy little girl with a heart of gold. She lives in London with her mama (Mary White), papa (George White), and her twin sister Mimmy.” She’s also a Scorpio with the blood type A, just in case fans want to save her life one day. Her motto is “You can never have too many friends,” which should resonate with anyone who lives and breathes social media. And social media has indeed been clawing at this kitty-or-not cat-astrophe. It’s leading many of us to question every other cartoon character we knew. Mickey Mouse is still a rodent, right?

Hello Kitty was done in the motif of a cat. It’s going too far to say that Hello Kitty is not a cat. Hello Kitty is a personification of a cat.

Sanrio statement