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NY Post
New York Post
2 Sep 2023

NextImg:Here’s what the furry subculture is really all about

Cadejo Jones had hit rock bottom in 2014.

Struggling with alcohol addiction and embroiled in a toxic relationship, he had made the decision to take his own life.

It was then that his favorite cartoon, “My Little Pony,” came to his rescue.

As he contemplated his fate, Jones watched as the character Luna successfully grappled with her own demons.

Soon after, in “The eleven-month Hiatus between seasons four and five,” Jones decided there was a point to living after all. 

“I was in a dark place, and seeing Luna go through similar struggles to what I was going through was eye-opening,” he tells author Joe Strike in the new book “Furry Planet: A World Gone Wild” (Apollo).

“It was a big turning point.”

Jones is what’s known as a “furry” (more specifically, a ‘Brony,’ given his passion for “My Little Pony.”)

He’s also one of the scores of case studies featured in the book, in which Strike examines the world of the “Furries,” the subculture wherein people dress up as animals. (Strike himself is a long-term furry.)

A furry crowd at the 2022 Once Upon a Fur Con in China.
Courtesy of Once Upon a Fur Con

It’s a fascinating introduction to a much-misunderstood community.

Furries, for example, dress in “fursuits” and convene at “furmeets” to reveal their chosen character, or “fursona.” 

Depending on factors such as age and preferred animal, you might also have other names. As an older furry, for example, Strike is known as a “greymuzzle.”

Strike also addresses common misconceptions about furries. 

A parade of furries at the 17th Eurofurence Convention in Magdeburg, Germany.
Alamy Stock Photo

“Most folks outside the furry community labor under the assumption that as a furry, you’re practically required to own and wear a fursuit,” he writes.

“But even though a well-made suit is a wonderful way of bringing your fursona into the real world, it’s not a requirement.”

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For those who like fursuits, though, the choice is endless.

Once a person has decided on a fursona, they can be purchased custom-made for around $3,000. (Partial suits, where buyers get just a head or paws, are cheaper.)

It’s possible to spend significantly more, however.

Recently, The Post reported on a Japanese man, Toco, who had spent $14,000 creating a lifelike collie costume that he could inhabit, explaining that he had always had a “dream of becoming an animal.”

In 2010, furry YouTuber Odin Wolf posted a video revealing the most expensive fursuits ever made, with the priciest, Rawr the Dragon, coming in at $23,500.

As Strike explains, furries come from all walks of life.

One interviewee, Dr. David Benaron, is a Harvard and MIT graduate and a former professor of medicine and physics at Stanford University. (He also developed the sensor that now enables heart rate monitoring on wearables like smartwatches.)

The Japanese man known as “Toco” spent $14,000 creating a lifelike Collie costume.

Despite his many achievements, Benaron only discovered his true self when he entered the furry community. 

Now, he owns 47 fursuits.

 “Yes, I invented this. Yes, I discovered this – but I never felt my accomplishments were about me,” he says.

Author Joe Strike in his “fursona,” known as Komos.
Courtesy of Joe Strike and Oliver Coombes

“Of all the things I’ve done, I’m proudest of being a fur.”

Furries are even in space.

In December 2021, Cameron Bess (a.k.a MeepsKitten), was a passenger on a mission of Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin spacecraft, making the 23-year-old the first openly furry astronaut.

For some furries, the dedication goes far beyond slipping on a fursuit. 

“But even though a well-made suit is a wonderful way of bringing your fursona into the real world, it’s not a requirement," said Strike (seen above).

“But even though a well-made suit is a wonderful way of bringing your fursona into the real world, it’s not a requirement,” said Strike (seen above).
Courtesy of Joe Strike

British ornithologist and artist Marcus Coates has studied many animals in a bid to really understand whatever fursona he takes on. 

He’s even tried to learn the language of seals. 

“The philosophical underpinnings of Coates’s work, using our human imagination to see the world through an animal’s eyes — in a sense, to become the animal — is to try to rediscover, as an observer of Coates’s work wrote, ‘something wild and ancient, buried deep within ourselves’,” writes Strike.

As Strike explains, the idea that Furries are limited to just cosplay is short-sighted.

“It’s my hope that as furry fandom continues to grow, more people will be able to find community and connection through furry,” writes Strike.
AFP via Getty Images

From anthropomorphic art and television, music to movies, it’s a kind of fandom that reaches into almost every aspect of their lives. 

Inevitably, sex also rears its head.

One interviewee, known only as “Virgose,” explains that his interest began after watching the sci-fi cartoon “ThunderCats” in the 1980s.

“I just saw these nude cat people in the show’s first episode, and they looked amazing… [and] my love of how they looked gave me the ability as I grew to see beauty and sexual desire in artistic expression.”

A furry takes a break at AnthroCon 2023, one of the largest anthropomorphic conventions.
AFP via Getty Images

Jack Newhorse, 54, meanwhile, is an unapologetic ‘yiffy’ (someone who enjoys the sexual side of furry cosplay).

“Last night I went to a naked furry party in a trailer park in New Jersey with a crowd I met through the Mid-Atlantic Furry Hookups Telegram group,” he explains to Strike.

“I was in an intimate moment with a fellow furry while surrounded by 20-plus others playing video games and yelling jokes at each other in between weed breaks.” 

There’s even furry porn.

Furry Planet: A World Gone Wild: Includes History, Costumes, and Conventions by Joe Strike

When Strike interviews artist Anthony Ausgang about his penchant for furry porn, he explained the appeal. “What I like about furry porn is that it gives animal cartoon characters a definite sexuality,” he says. “Most of them seem to exist with rudimentary (if any) genitalia in a weirdly sexless world.”

The problem writes Strike, is that those outside of the furry community still regard it as, well, weird.

“Even as our community becomes better known and media coverage grows less sensational, the word ‘fetish’ is still very often attached to it,” he writes. “It’s my hope that as furry fandom continues to grow, more people will be able to find community and connection through furry. Imagine the peace of mind, creativity, and positive energy that could be unleashed if more of us are willing to dip a paw in?”