Los Angeles - Hello Kitty is not a cat, says Sanrio.
As preparations are made for the cute white feline character's 40th birthday celebrations, the Japanese company that created the global marketing phenomenon has set the record straight - and caused chaos on the Internet, said the Los Angeles Times.
Hello Kitty is actually a British schoolgirl named Kitty White, said the report. Her origin story includes things such as: She is a Scorpio, she has a twin sister, and their parents are George and Mary White.
Anthropologist Christine R. Yano from the University of Hawaii, who has spent years studying the popularity of Hello Kitty, is the one who brought the misunderstanding to light, said the Times.
She said Sanrio corrected her "very firmly" when she described Hello Kitty as a cat while curating an upcoming Kitty retrospective at the Japanese American National Museum.
"That's one correction Sanrio made for my script for the show," she told the Times. "Hello Kitty is not a cat. She's a cartoon character. She is a little girl. 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."
Hello Kitty - a "perpetual third-grader" who "lives outside of London" - was created in the 1970s, when the Japanese loved the idea of Britain, Yano said. "It represented the quintessential idealised childhood, almost like a white picket fence. So the biography was created exactly for the tastes of that time."
On Twitter, singer Josh Groban was among those who reacted strongly to the story, said the Times. He said on Wednesday: "Hello Kitty is a cat. She has whiskers and a cat nose. Girls don't look like that. Stop this nonsense."
Peanuts Worldwide, the company behind the comic strip, confirmed on Twitter that "Snoopy IS a dog".