Good, my childhood wasn't based on lies after all. Despite headlines to the contrary, Sanrio has confirmed that Hello Kitty is indeed a cat. I repeat: Hello Kitty is a cat.
The confusion stemmed from an interview with Christine R. Yano, the curator of the Japanese American National Museum's retrospective on the beloved cat. The Los Angeles Times quotes Yano as saying she was "corrected — very firmly" by Sanrio when she described Hello Kitty as a feline. "Hello Kitty is not a cat," she said, citing Sanrio. "She's a cartoon character. She is a little girl. She is a friend. But she is not a cat."
At that point, the internet lost its collective you know what. As everyone else reported this statement as gospel, Kotaku's Brian Ashcraft called up Sanrio in Tokyo and asked point-blank if Hello Kitty is a cat. The spokesperson said: "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." They used the word "gijinka," which means "anthropomorphization" or "personification."
Hello Kitty is just one in a long line of personified animal characters, including Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, and others. Although he may be able to drive cars, steer boats, and serve as a sorcerer's apprentice, Mickey's still a mouse, just like Hello Kitty — who bakes, goes to school, and is on the side of a 777 — is still a cat.
So, it's settled. Hello Kitty is indeed a cat. Now that this case has been solved, join me next time when I attempt to figure out how Hello Kitty has made it to 40 without having a mouth.