Today, our own Brian Ashcraft posted this very excellent, complicated rebuttal to the reports that Hello Kitty is not a cat . In it he cites numerous examples, gives complicated, detailed analysis of the language involved and even calls Sanrio to get the lowdown. He is also still wrong.
Let's look at the facts.
This is the smoking gun in this argument. If you were to break down the main characteristics of a cat, the main one would be that they're self-centered jerks . Honestly, that is the appeal of a cat. Cats are friendly when they choose to be, emotionally codependent other times, destroy everything you own and only care about themselves.
Hello Kitty is not that. Brian himself cites that Hello Kitty is described as a "cheerful and nice girl". That describes, at most, one cat I've met and even she was still a dick half the time. For something to be a cat, it should actually act like a goddamn cat.
Brian cites Mickey Mouse and Pluto, without fully acknowledging how fucked up that whole situation is. Just because Goofy is cool with his friend owning a dog does not mean that those two levels of reality are suddenly okay without explanation in all forms of media. What's more, the coexistence of Goofy and Pluto show the difference between "dogs" and dogs. Goofy and Mickey are dog and mouse shaped, the evolutionary end point in a Planet of the Apes doomsday scenario where all humans have perished. Pluto actually is a pet.
Hello Kitty is not a cat. Hello Kitty is branding turned sentient — a grotesque, adorable saint of useless crap. She's a nightmare come to life — the manifestation of some collective, horrible wrong transformed into vibrators and stuffed animals.
Hello Kitty's ability to be in all places (like, for example, the Stravinsky fever-dream of a young oboist in a completely unrelated Sanrio universe), her de-facto immortality and the fact that her face adorns objects the world over makes her functionally identical to a minor god. She's on grave stones for god's sake. And like Jesus and the Virgin Mary, she even appears on toast sometimes.
So yes. Hello Kitty is cat-ish and sorta cat shaped, but lacks almost all of the basic qualities that make a cat a cat.
And while we're at it, a hot dog is not a sandwich.