Let's play '21 Questions' about The Furry Fandom!
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Furry Fandom FAQ by Giles Gourry EuDraco is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.
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Updated January 2008


Note to Parents and those who are concerned: If your child (or partner, etc.) has told you that they are a furry, or somewhere along the lines of such, this resource is here to provide information about what it is about. What they are contributing to or practicing in is very likely to not be an insight into witchcraft nor an insight into a risky cult, since the Furry Fandom was not designed to perform in such a way. Someone who has decided to be with the fandom is in a safe environment, and is not obligated to perform anything questionable. The best thing to do is to discuss your issues with the person you are concerned about in a neutral fashion, and allow them to express their views and takes on things.

So what is this furry business?
It's not easy to answer this question because there are many answers and subcatagories. However, the most universal answer revolves around the interests related to anthropomorphic animals, creatures or in some cases, items; the latter being the most popular.

The general answer used to be that it was the belief of having a spiritual connection with an animal or is one in some format. While this still continues to date, this definition is becoming less accepted, since the furry fandom has changed dramatically in the seven years I have been able to observe.


ok, then, what is 'Anthropomorphism'?
an•thro•po•mor•phism (n'thr-p-mrfzm): n. Attribution of human motivation, characteristics, or behavior to inanimate objects, animals, or natural phenomena.

In other words, think of Disney's Robin Hood, he's a fox with human attributes, so he is an anthropomorphic fox.

So, in easier terms, what is furry?
Put simply, the interest of animals or creatures with near-human features. This can be compared to someone’s childhood, always looking up to or were interested with a specific animal-cartoon character; extending to collections, artworks and roleplay. Furries tend to take this to a more adult, respectable and independent level by the use of adult responsibilities. However, the common definition has changed over time, and has split into various systems of interest and belief, collated together under the term 'furry fandom':
 
The Extreme
The Uninterested

Over the last seven years I have been a furry, the concepts, terms and definition of ‘furry’ has altered. Those who just roleplayed their favourite animals or characters used to be classed as furry fans; now the term has been rendered defunct. As a result, it is increasingly difficult to know those who take the fandom seriously and how only take part for the roleplay value. While this may bridge boundaries between classes, it also means that everybody’s interpretation differs significantly, making it a ripe target for the media.
 
To conclude this, I would be classed as an otherkin.

Is this some kind of religion or cult or something?
Originally, transformation and anthropomorphism was closely linked to shamanism and in the case of Catholocism, closely linked to The Devil. Many passages in The Bible also states in various passages that it is wrong to actively participate in being or acting out the part of an animal, due to the concept that all animals class lower than humans (under the order of God).
 
In general, the furry fandom is not a religion; however it can be incompatible with certain religions. For the majority, since this is an interest rather than serious spiritual interaction, religion can continue unhindered. For the more extreme furries, some partake in a religious duality that combines both religious law with their own interpretations, experiences and beliefs – this can be classed as controversial to the main religious communities, and may not be tolerated. I am a scientist, and have had many theological arguments, battles and even attempts at conversion performed; not only do I have to contend with the science vs. religion debate, I also have to defend my furry beliefs too. This leads to many bouts of depression, I hate to admit.
 
From an observation of the world in the past 250 years, we seem to approach science more often than religious text, and therefore go further than what holy scriptures tell us to - we question ourselves as to who we really are, and make our own conclusions as a result. This is my conclusion and take it that if God wanted us to obey het* fully, het would have kept us in a closed atmosphere and never ever let us examine the world outside.
 
As for the fandom being a cult, maybe. My opinion would be that cults have a common goal, objective, system or methodology – the furry fandom definitely does not have that any more. We are now a descriptor; everyone has a different viewpoint.
 
An argument to the reason that the furry fandom is a cult is its secrecy to the public. This can be explained very simply by the fact that the fandom has had very bad press in the past 10 years. Publications, such as Marie Claire, Vanity Fair and Loaded reported on the extreme side of the furry fandom and making it representative of the whole community – the end results being the public perceiving furries to be a group of sex-crazed zoophiles. Television interviews have done the same, with an MTV documentary and the CSI episode (4x03: Fur and Loathing in Las Vegas) concentrating on sexual activities whilst wearing a fursuit (which I must add is more of a fetish that non-furries have as well as furries - again, not a common occurrence in the fandom). The best example is an interview with one of my friends, made for LWT's Nightlife back in 1999 that can be interpreted as one of two things, depending on how you listen to it:
Because of the press being more of a problem than a solution, the furry fandom nowadays frowns on any future media coverage, and treads very carefully when asked to provide information about themselves to those who are not furries. All that I can suggest is that when you're reading up on information about the furry fandom, learn with caution and an open mind.
 
* het – he/she/it; my descriptor for those who are not classed with gender. Deities are one of them.

You're just some fat 40year old, using this furry thing to cover for sneaking up on children and molesting them in privacy.
I am 23 at time of press. I have never ever done anything so perverted, let alone used my furry beliefs to create a buffer, so I could get away with it.
 
There is little I can say that can convince you that we are harmless; there are always exceptions to the rule. Since the furry fandom nowadays is commonly advertised and spread using the internet, the same standards maintained when meeting others in person is just the same as if it wasn’t a furry. Common sense, scrutiny and security will never let you down.

How many furries are there in this world?
As of the year 2000, 1,000 furries live in the US and 200 in the UK, but this has been known to increase rapidly, due to the internet.

To answer the question, I personally assume 50,000 [14,322 confirmed] otherkin furries worldwide, 20,000 [10,370 confirmed] being in the US and 500 [356 confirmed] in the UK. On researching the population rise, the number of confirmed furries seems to double every 2 years. A television report in 2007 regarding all types of furry claimed a population of 3 million.

Okay, I want to be a furry, where can I join?
The fandom is not a club, but if you want to know how to start being a furry, this depends on how far you want to go:
The fandom isn't a group where you take a ticket and pick an animal at random; these questions are part of what they call spiritual enlightenment (but don't take it as some guru meditation, it's not that stupid!)

If you do find out what your inner self is, I implore you to regard it as a thing for life. I, myself do get quite annoyed when I hear of those who just change their fursona as they see fit. However, fine tuning like 'I didn't know it had a black splodge on its back, but I do now' is acceptable; changing from a scaled dragon to a raccoon isn't really what you would call an otherkin in my opinion – more of a general furry.

Hmm? how can I 'find my inner self'?
Silly as it may sound, there are many ways, and the common ones are:
So I find my inner self, I'm a x, does this mean I have to buy a collar, leash, membership pack of any kind?
It is not mandatory to buy anything to display your furriness, but many people to do to say they are proud of being a furry. Some have the money to buy fursuits to display their pride; but for those like me, who lack in the excessive money routine, the best investment is to buy a collar and tag, which displays your pride to furries and non-furries quite well. For those who are a little shy, you can just buy a pendant or ring, or keep something close by. In the end, a collar is just an obscure necklace to the standard human.

I repeat it is not mandatory to buy something. Only do it if you want to show others you are a furry, or you'd like to display furry-pride. I must add though that because of those in the fandom who are furries for the roleplay value, it is very easy for ‘items of pride’ to be commonplace amongst a crowd of cosplayers, anim fans and now non-otherkin furries. If you want to be known, it's pretty much increasingly required to be unique or very obvious...but I suggest you don't go to extremes as to do something permanent to yourself!

Are there minor categories of the furry fandom?
There are, and I must state again that these are minorities amongst the crowd of furries, therefore they only represent a small number of the population. Regardless, they do exist, and therefore I state them:

Zoophiles: To have a constant relationship with a pet animal or specific animal. For example, your pet dog to the point of actually wanting to form a loving relationship with it. I have met various furries who are zoophiles, and their communications can be disturbing to those who cannot comprehend their psychology. For myself, I am not one of them.
Plushiphiles: To enjoy and love stuffed versions of animals you love, such as keeping and enjoying your Digimon beanies. However, the common definition goes to the point of having intercourse with them. This is rare, but tarnishes those who state themselves to be plushiphiles and do so in a non-sexual manner.
Macrophiles: The enjoyment of someone (or yourself) being very large in size (commonly in excess of 10'). Common stereotype states that they only take pleasure in destroying cities, but this is not entirely true. The abbreviation 'macro' describes someone who is of a large size personally, and is used commonly in profiles. To further loosen the term, macrophiles can also have only a certain part of their body at a larger size, commonly used for the purposes of applying an increased size of paws and phallic region to please those in the Yiff community.
Microphiles: The same as macrophile, but in this case those who enjoy or know themselves to be very small, in regions of centimetres or even millimetres. This is more rare compared to macrophilia.
Scalies: The term coined for those who are furries, but with scaled skin rather than a furry skin; examples being dragons, lizards, snakes, etc. Scalies are welcomed and accepted as furries by the fandom, however there is a slight seperation between the two, due to the use of an altered vocabulary or psychology.
Vore: The term coined for those who take the animal instinct of carnivorisation seriously; they believe in the predator/prey food chain.
Burned Furs: A group formed in 1999, now known to be defunct. This was the term coined for the group of furries that decided to create a set of rules (or more honestly, commandments) for the furry fandom. It never caught on, due to some rules making the furry fandom less individual (an aspect that the furry fandom craves on). The Burned Furs were quickly ignored until their authority died. They are known to still be around, but only as a packet of resistance to the modern furry world - a furry terrorist group?

I heard of something called yiff, explain what this is.
A slang word used to explain sexual intercourse between furries; in either their human form or fursona. It is rumoured ‘yiff’ was coined by the fox furries and originated from the 'yiff' sound foxes make when undergoing intercourse.

It is very common for the word 'yiff' to replace the word 'sex' in the fandom. A good reason is that it allows the shy to communicate better, especially since there is no harsh tone in the word (unlike the sharp 'ks' sound in 'sex').

Do I have to ‘yiff’ to be a furry?
Yiff is not needed to be a furry, but it must be acknowledged that it does happen. Some furries use it as a method of strengthening friendships and relationships with other furries. There are many furries who don't want to yiff and it's perfectly acceptable under the freedom of choice.

Despite the reason above leaning towards the promiscuous, there have been examples where it has worked extremely well. However, this does not mean furries will yiff anyone and anywhere. The majority of these acts are performed online, since it is more convenient, more interesting and contains a lower risk.

Now, I want you to read the above and pretend you’re asking this question regarding members of another group. It is very easy to misinterpret this information, but I am being honest and apply to everybody in the world – furry and non-furry. Secondly, DO NOT take what I said above as a final definition! Each furry is different, and therefore it is very difficult to explain all of the reasons for yiffing in the fandom. Scruples are about the same as the humans have.

Do I have to be gay/lesbian to be a furry?
There are many hetero (30%) furries, so the answer is no.
However from the percentage, the majority of furries are gay/lesbian. A rational explanation comes that quote 'gay people tend to think more about their surroundings and question life, thinking outside the box much earlier than hetero people'. There are many hetero furries, so I repeat with gusto the answer is no.

If you are reading this in concern over your child/partner/whatever being gay, their choice in being a furry is not necessarily a stepping stone to being gay, nor vice versa. In this case, communication of issues and expressions is the best course of action to take.

Do I have to be an internet nut to be a furry?
Not required, but a great help. The internet is used for three purposes:
What are these meets they talk about?
A furmeet (usually monthly) is where a group of furries meet up in a major town/city and socialise, sometimes scouring the area to look for events and shops of furry interest. Imagine a group of all your friends meeting at one place and doing some fun stuff.

Do I have to go to a meet to be a furry?
No. You are always a furry whether you attend a meet or not – it is not like you have to pass an initiation to prove your worth. But I do suggest going to a meet because it is a very good weekend to have and you will never forget your first few meets.

What does a meet consist of?
I typed this in 2004...
"An example is meeting at a pub in the town/city at 1pm on Saturday, where you socialise with all the furries who come for a few hours. After about 5pm, the pub chucks you out and the group splits into about three, each one going to and doing a certain something [like shopping for plushies, going to cinema, etc.] The day usually ends with being at an arcade with all the furries. You can then go home if you so desire, or if you want to stay for another day, then a kind furry offers you a place to sleep at night. The day returns and you pretty much meet again somewhere else and split up again to do whatever the group wants to do. Then as the night creeps in, the furry count lowers until it's just a few who decide it's too late and go back home."

Nowadays, this has somehow reduced in activity. Furmeets still go strong and regular, but there is often a lack of organisation. Therefore every meet now starts in a central area (usually a pub or bar in the central part of the city) and the order of the day is decided on the fly there. Previously where there used to be two groups that went off to do pre-planned things, it's now that about 5 to 8 smaller groups split off to do their own thing, acting on their own agenda and with their own secluded group of friends. The rise in mobile phone communication now means that one of the reasons people attended meets, to communicate with other furries, network and share news, is now defunct. This isn't to say that it's pointless to go to a meet, but it is best to go to a meet with someone you know, so you don't risk being left behind when everyone else leaves suddenly and don't include you.

Where can I find more information about meets or make myself known in the furry fandom?
UK
http://www.ukfur.org/ - main directory and networking site of all confirmed furries in the UK
http://www.londonfurs.org - Furmeet in London every three weeks
http://www.northernfurs.org.uk/ - NorthernFurs; Furmeet in Northern UK every three weeks
http://www.hantsfurs.co.uk - HantsFurs; Occasional furmeets in Southampton/Portsmouth (about 2-3 a year)

Worldwide
http://furry.wikia.com/wiki/WikiFur_Furry_Central - Peer reviewed furry related wiki
http://www.furnation.com – the common host for furry websites
http://us.vclart.net/vcl/ - Vixen Controlled Library, furry art
http://www.furaffinity.net/ - FurAffinity, furry creativity site
http://ifpl.cattech.org/ - Internet Furry Proximity Locator; used to search for furries local to your area

I don't want to be a furry; my friends will think I'm weird.
Then they're not your real friends if they think that. Go get some new ones, the furries will be all too keen to befriend you if you make the effort to talk and be positive.

I feel I must comment on how to break it to your parents when the time comes. Sooner or later, they’ll find out – the best course of action is to be honest. If you are an otherkin or a furry, tell them you are a furry. I did stammer and get nervous explaining myself, but it was done by just coming out with it and not stalling. Nothing will make things more worse than letting the matter simmer, and allow them time to think the wrong thing.

This is too vague, is there a textual or audio/video database to gather more information?
http://www.slycat.co.uk/index.php?id=6 - Video database of furry events and furry fandom
http://pressedfur.coolfreepages.com/ - Pressed Fur Press; Media coverage of furry events and furry fandom.
http://www.foxbox.de/gallery/ - Check the ‘Real Media’ section

So smartie-pants, since you're answering all these questions, give me a case study of how you became a furry.
okay, since I was about 14, I reached a point where I had a question that kept bugging me - why are dragons were portrayed as bad in stories and books, when if you looked at it with a scientific eye, they seemed to be civilised and majestic creatures. I was also getting my hand into sketching manga (with bad results) and suddenly, in 1999/2000, I watched a late night Friday show on Channel 4 (the logo had a spiked apple, the programme was also well known for its 'legal things to smoke that will get you high' section - I think it was called Spiked. Someone PLEASE help me find out what it was!)

They interviewed a person who was talking about the furry fandom, with a tail wrapped around his waist like a belt. I felt a form of respect for the guy and events from my natural development reached its peak during a trip to Efteling in the Netherlands in August 2000, ending in a discovery that I may have a dragon alter-ego. This was done without the internet or any other furries whatsoever (other than the one on TV). I was now what would have been a furry fan, but didn't know it at the time.

When I got into the internet a year later and published artwork of myself as a dragon (Artportfolio 2-1 and 2), plus admiring other's artwork, I checked into it some more and found out about the furry fandom that way. My draconic spirit soon developed with a mixture of meditation (spontaneous decision) and a higher thirst for dragon-based information.

About the middle of 2001, I was considered myself a furry and was discovering my new furry name by combining certain markers in the past year.

Giles - Giles from Alundra looked so cute, and made me want that name instead my human name for many years.
Gourry - Gourry Gabriev from Slayers – a role model to me. My favourite manga character yet.
EuDraco - Eudraco Magnificus Occidentalis; the Latin name for Western Dragon

About October 2001, he got kidnapped by some evil spirit, but I eventually saved him by making a wonder in the area of interest - an arson attacked building. Couple this with a house fire the next month, all my furry resources were destroyed, apart from the basics - my artwork, my dragon statuettes and my sanity. Whether you think of that as a load of spiritualist crap is by opinion, however I felt that it was something I had to do, and it was done.

So I was to start afresh. My room is now much tidier and more organised, with a subtle hint of furry when you walk into the room...however, my dorm room at university is a place a furry would love to have! And as I'm getting older and independant, I have now done some major things. I have a furry partner in love; I know a few furries who live a mile from me and I have at the time of press, have had been to about twelve furmeets in London and about three furmeets in Southampton.

I must admit, I've had my friends and enemies - the key is time and patience. Oh, and in your first furmeet, don't take things seriously - some will make fun of you, some will make you think you'll never fit in, and then there'll be the true friends. Good Luck!

What is this SLICKED principle that you believe in?
The SLICKED principle is a peaceful way of explaining your opinion of how the furry fandom would best operate. It is also to express your dedication of how you and your fursona co-exist. The 7 different ideals are:-

Simplicity - The Furry Fandom is a simple ideal of life. There shouldn't be any complications on how you should be.
Links - To be a furry, a good link should be maintained between you and your fursona.
Individuality - The fandom relies on the freedom of being yourself and that conformism is not mandatory.
Complexity - The fandom is simple, but the people who are part of it have complex and variation in their lives.
Key - The fandom relies on each other to exist comfortably. Together, we're the key to the future of the fandom.
Effort - Nothing is a cakewalk, if you apply effort to being with your fursona, you'll reap many benefits.
Duality - Your fursona is equal with your human side; a dual-personality that merges as a beneficial one.

 +=

The symbol is a small 25x25 image, to show the belief (and concern) that the fandom should stay small, and to never be given mass participation. The fandom is more fragile as more people participate with less dedication. The symbol is made of a rainbow of colours in a hexagonal shape, to show the variety of people that makes the fandom, the same hexagon is mirrored and superimposed (to represent duality) to create a simple mathematical square (complexity). The lines between each circle forms the key that represents the future of the fandom.

It's not the best symbol to represent something, but it has meaning. The symbol is free to distribute and use, but I would like either credit or a link back to my website.

Well, that's 21 questions of furry. Any more questions, feel free to ask at my email address or IM :)