What is “Furry”?
Anthropomorphic or “humanized” animals have been with us since the dawn of civilization. From the gods of ancient Egypt to the advertising icons of the modern day, people of every culture have created fanciful creatures simply by imbuing animals with human traits. Only within the last two decades has anthropomorphic or “Furry” fandom been recognized as a distinct fan-base in its own right. Fans are found in all corners of the world, and come from all races and ages and creeds. We are bound together across the most daunting barriers by our mutual admiration for these beasts of myth and legend who, by simple reflection, give us a better window into ourselves.
A large number of anthropomorphics fans are employed in scientific or technical fields. A significant percentage have college diplomas and many of those hold advanced degrees. This, perhaps, is what leads many casual observers to raise an eyebrow. “Why would someone like this be into cartoon animals? Isn’t that unusual?” If we look at the world around us, however, we will see that anthropomorphized animals are an integral part of our culture. We use them to represent our political parties. We talk to our dogs (and some even imagine they talk back, though in their own way). We put a tiger in our tank. We cheer for mascots—anthropomorphic animals dressed in team uniforms—at our favorite sporting events. Our casual observer may simply be unaware that it is only in the last forty years that cartoons and cartoon animals have been relegated to the world of children. Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and their ilk were once targeted primarily to an adult audience, their productions filled with innuendo and biting political satire. Fans of anthropomorphics today simply have not forgotten those roots. The average Furry fan is cast from the same mold as the science fiction or sword-and-sorcery fan; all of us imagine strange and thrilling worlds and try to picture ourselves living in those worlds.
Today, Furry fandom is instead an artistic and literary genre that is practiced and enjoyed by tens of thousands worldwide. We count among our ranks professional sports mascots, animators, cartoonists, puppeteers, artists, illustrators, and writers, as well as those who simply think that it would be a wonderful thing if animals could walk or talk like we do. If you as an adult still occasionally like to flip to the old cartoons, or have a stuffed animal sitting on the dashboard of your car, or buy cereal because it has a cool tiger on the box, you may well enjoy what our fandom has to offer. We invite you to visit any one of our many gatherings worldwide to see for yourself what Furry fandom is really all about.