Hello? Kitty is unmasked

Cath Thomas, of Goonellabah, has spent eight years collecting Hello Kitty products.
Cath Thomas, of Goonellabah, has spent eight years collecting Hello Kitty products. Marc Stapelberg

HELLO Kitty is not a cat.

Yes. I know. Next we'll have to double check if Peppa Pig is actually a possible source of bacon.

As CNN put it this week, the revelation was a "cat-astrophic revelation (that) purr-turbs Hello Kitty fans."

So, here is the ugly truth: Hello Kitty is not a cat but a 40-year-old female called Kitty White from outside London.

Christine Yano, an anthropologist from the University of Hawaii, was preparing a script for a Hello Kitty exhibition at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles.

Hello Kitty owner company, Sanrio, "very firmly" pointed out to Ms Yano that Hello Kitty is not a cat, but a girl.

"She's never depicted on all fours," they pointed out, and she "walks and sits like a two-legged creature".

She even has a pet cat of her own, called Charmmy Kitty.

The revelation sent shockwaves to Hello Kitty fans across the globe, including Lismore's Cath Thomas, arguably the character's biggest fan in the Northern Rivers.

We spoke to Ms Thomas yesterday.

When did you 'discover' Hello Kitty?

I knew about Hello Kitty when I was a little girl, but I didn't start to really like her until I was around 19.

Why do you think you like her so much?

She is so cute and versatile! I like every genre of Hello Kitty from cute, to nerdy, to punk.

What is the most sought after item/experience for Hello Kitty lovers?

I can't speak for every Hello Kitty fan out there, but there is a Hello Kitty plane and I would love to go on it one day. Everything is Hello Kitty, even the food is Hello Kitty shaped.

How many Hello Kitty items do you own/ what is the maximum you've ever owned?

How long is a piece of string? I honestly couldn't tell you. I've owned so many different kinds of Hello Kitty paraphernalia over the years from toasters to DVD players.

My favorite is my Hello Kitty snowboard.

What did you think of the news that Kitty is not really a cat but a human?

I am shocked! I knew Hello Kitty was female, but I thought she was a female cat.

Are there many Hello Kitty lovers you know in the Northern Rivers?

Not too many that I know about, I've seen a few Hello Kitty decked-out cars and have been very jealous.

at a glance

Name: Kitty White.

Aliases: Hello Kitty in the West, Harokiti in Japan.

Owner: Japanese company Sanrio, first designed by Yuko Shimizu.

For years, she was explained as an anthropomorphic white Japanese bobtail cat with a red bow.

However, in 2014 Sanrio stated that the character is not simply a cat, describing her as being a little English girl called Kitty White from outside London.

The character's first appearance on an item, a vinyl coin purse, was introduced in Japan in 1974 and in the United States in 1976.

This year, when Hello Kitty is 40 years old, earning Sanrio $7 billion a year, all without any advertising.

Back with Love and Violence

DOWN AGAIN: The Superjesus are Paul Berryman on drums, Sarah McLeod on lead vocals and Stuart Rudd on bass guitar.

The Superjesus are back after 13 years

Wall of help for Our Kids in hospitals

FUNDS RAISED: Our Kids co-ordinator Rebekka Battista with Woolworths Ballina Store manager Nori Bensley and the rest of the Northern Rivers Woolworths' staff at the handover of $54,772.

Donation helps keep kids closer to home

Tourism division welcomes inquiry into holiday letting

Parliamentary inquiry into short stay holiday lets has been welcomed by tourist body.

Opportunity to help grow and diversify regional tourism

Local Partners

Leonardo DiCaprio nearly drowned while filming

Actor Leonardo DiCaprio

Oscar winner almost drowned in Galapagos

Miranda Kerr to wed next year

Supermodel Miranda Kerr

Supermodel and Snapchat founder to wed

What's on the small screen this week

Georgia Love pictured in a scene from The Bachelorette finale.

TWO big reality shows wrap up this week while

An action film to suit Baby Boomers

ON A MISSION: Tom Hanks and Felicity Jones in a scene from the movie Inferno.

The latest Dan Brown thriller movie adaption

Back with Love and Violence

DOWN AGAIN: The Superjesus are Paul Berryman on drums, Sarah McLeod on lead vocals and Stuart Rudd on bass guitar.

The Superjesus are back after 13 years

Brad Pitt won't file legal response to divorce petition

Brad reportedly refused to send off the paperwork

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June

New $200 million development will create 580 jobs

Cassie And Josh with baby Alfie and daughter Andee. They have bought at new Lennox Head development Epiq.

Majority of new positions will be given to Northern Rivers locals

Cherrabah's mega resort plans axed

PLANS for a massive development at Cherrabah have been scrapped.

Dusit Thani finance crisis 'just a small hiccup'

ON TRACK: Springfield Land Chairman, Maha Sinnathamby, Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale, Developer Richard Turner and Springfield Land Deputy Chairman, Bob Sharpless, at the recent resort sod turning ceremony.

Property developer says project remains firmly on track

Heavyweight enters real estate market

Des Besanko principal and director of Raine and Horne Springfield.

Major rebranding which has seen two big name brands merge