If it looks like Hello Kitty, dresses like Hello Kitty, and inspires huge international cultural events like Hello Kitty, then it's not a cat.

Hello Kitty
Hello Kitty making an appearance at the Thanksgiving Parade in New York in 2012.

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That's right folks, the creators of the cute Japanese icon Sanrio have revealed the whiskered, pointy eared creature of worldwide fame is not a cat. Or so an anthropologist who has spent years studying the feline-like phenomenon claims.

Speaking to the L.A. Times, the author of Pink Globalization: Hello Kitty's Trek across the Pacific, Christine R. Yano, revealed some startling truths about Kitty. Apparently Sanrio are keen to emphasise Kitty is not a cat. 

Yano was preparing an exhibit to be shown at the Japanese American Museum when her text, in which called Hello Kitty a cat, was edited by Sanrio. Yano explained: "I was corrected - very firmly. That's one correction Sanrio made for my script for the show. Hello Kitty is not a cat. She's a cartoon character. She is a little girl. 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."

The exhibition Yano is working on at the Japanese American Museum in Los Angeles will start in mid October and is part of the celebrations to make Kitty's 40th anniversary. Hello Kitty was created in 1974 in Japan and made it to the US two years later.

Another startling revelation was that Kitty is actually British and goes under the name Kitty White. As Yano explained during Kitty's conception in the 1970s, Japanese society was obsessed with everything quintessentially British. According to Kitty's profile on the Sanrio website, Kitty was born in the suburbs of London to George and Mary White. She also has a twin sister Mimmy and the family live together along with Kitty's grandparents Anthony and Margaret. 

What do you think - Can Sanrio claim Kitty is not a cat?

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