Hello Kitty, also known by her real name Kitty White, is the latest guest star to join the rolling monkeys of Super Monkey Ball: Banana Mania. That makes it the perfect time to issue a very important PSA: Hello Kitty is not a cat.
Sure, having tiny little cat ears and whiskers would make anybody think that Hello Kitty is a feline, but the established canon of the Sanrio character says she’s actually a little girl. Her name, “Kitty” is just a first name, and uses the same name shortening that a ‘Katherine’ might use.
“Hello Kitty is a cheerful and happy little girl with a heart of gold,” is how the official Sanrio website describes her. Not a cat, a little girl.
So, what’s with the whiskers?
Well, according to a Sanrio spokesperson, who spoke to AFP in 2014, “[Hello Kitty] is a 100-percent personified character. The design takes the motif of a cat, but there is no element of a cat in Hello Kitty’s setting.”
She might have kitty ears but hey, tune into Twitch and you’ll find plenty of people with kitty ears (bless you, Razer). She might have whiskers but so does Naruto, and he’s not a cat. (Technically he’s part demon fox, I guess — but that doesn’t count.)
Hello Kitty doesn’t walk on all-fours, she wears a bright little pinafore, and she attends school with her friendly classmates.
More to the point: Hello Kitty actually owns a real cat.
Charmy Kitty (pictured above) is a cat. She looks like Hello Kitty, but the key difference here is she walks on four legs, has obvious fur and is treated like a pet.
When you compare the two, it makes sense. Charmmy Kitty is a cat, Hello Kitty is a little girl.
Will it make sense to anyone less versed in Sanrio lore? Probably not, but the point stands. If you’re going to refer to Hello Kitty, the first thing and most important thing you should know is that she’s not a cat.
The second thing you should know is that it’s objectively funny that Hello Kitty is set to appear alongside Yakuza‘s Kazuma Kirya in a game about monkeys rolling around in balls.
Video games are weird. Hello Kitty isn’t a cat. Stay tuned to Kotaku Australia for more fun facts.