What are Furries?

via oursaferschools.co.uk

According to research from a range of sources, furries are people who have an active interest in animal characters with human characteristics. These characters are often created by the community members themselves, who take them on as a “fursona” (an alternate persona) who interacts with other ‘fursonas’ in the community via roleplaying and art. The fursona commonly embodies characteristics (personality traits, physical attributes, and projected ages) desired by the individual creator. Some members even make vibrant costumes of their characters (called “fursuits”), and usually wear them in a public forum either in-person or online. There are world-wide conventions and “meets” that act as real-life gathering spaces for members.

Recent Claims and Hoaxes

There have been recent rumours, claims and hoaxes about students within multiple UK schools identifying as cats and engaging in disruptive behaviours, such as crawling on all fours and demanding litterboxes be placed in toilets. These stories have been picked up and reported on by various news broadcasters. Many use the term ‘Furries’ when referring to the students in question (though it is unclear whether this terminology has been used by any of these students to describe themselves).

As the topic of Furries is very niche and claimed to be misrepresented by popular media, it can be easy to identify the two together. However, it’s important to note that many of these stories have been debunked as hoaxes. It’s also worth mentioning that the Furry community itself is a complex one, made up of many different identities and definitions of what it means to be a ‘Furry’.

There are also multiple TikTok trends and social media posts that fuel and play into these rumours popping up across the world. It has been a popular topic on forums such as MumsNet, as well as traditional news media. While some posts claim to be true, it is difficult to ascertain their validity, especially as many of the locations mentioned play into the hoax stories.

Due to this complexity, our online safety experts were unable to substantiate any reports being made about this behaviour in schools or claims that mentioned students considering themselves to be Furries.