Well, my mind has been blown. And no doubt will my daughters' minds when they wake up. In fact I feel like waking them up now. But no, one more night in which they can sleep in the knowledge that Hello Kitty is a cat.
Because she isn't.
Sanrio describe Hello Kitty thus,
Hello Kitty is a cheerful and happy little girl with a heart of gold. She lives in London with her mama (Mary White), papa (George White), and her twin sister Mimmy. Hello Kitty loves to bake and she can make really delicious cookies. She learned her baking talents from her mama, who makes scrumptious apple pies that are enjoyed by the whole family.
You read that right. When Yano was preparing her written texts for the exhibit at the Japanese American National Museum, she says she described Hello Kitty as a cat. "I was corrected — very firmly," she says. "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."
I don't know what to think. Next up, Mickey Mouse is a kangaroo?
Don't get too close, Mickey!
UPDATE: Kotaku has done a follow-up with Sanrio asking about Hello Kitty's non-cat status, and though there still lingers an air of ambiguity about how earlier reported statements have been translated, the gist seems to be that though Hello Kitty is not exactly a cat, she's not human either.
When Kotaku called Sanrio's Tokyo headquarters today and asked whether or not Hello Kitty was indeed a cat, a spokesperson explained, "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."
Sanrio seem to have been initially unhappy with the definitive rendering of Hello Kitty as an actual cat rather than an "anthropomorphised" version of a cat with human qualities, clarifying that she has never walked on "all fours" and has a pet cat of her own. And yet she possesses "feline" qualities, they confirm. So, in this developing inter-species war over Hello Kitty's status, it's looks like joint-custody is in order?