The History of Furries

Or NIMH's Real Secret

Riley asks:

So, you know how much us middle class, white, male Americans love our stereotypes. Here's what I've got so far:

Asian, runs a blog called "Wolf Gnards," which blatantly references key genital features of the canis lupus, and nerdy... furry much?


Good points all. I do talk about werewolf gnards and their consistencies an awful lot. Do they have them? What happens to their pants? So and so forth. And maybe I've mentioned nude cartoon ducks once or twice, but who hasn't? However, I'm not sure if these are topics that I necessarily want to write about, but these are things that the world needs to know about. Call me a humanitarian if you will, but I'm not in this for the glory.

mrs. brisby

However, I'm not sure Furries are Asian. While there may be some relation to cosplay and Kemono (Japanese beast humans), I think we'll find that Furry fans have very white and suburban roots (much like yourself!). Furry attraction has more related to Looney Toons than anime. Besides the obvious references to Fritz the Cat or Omaha the Cat Dancer, or even Howard the Duck, one of the most prevalent establishing influences is The Secret of NIMH.

I never thought about it much, but there is something very alluring about Mrs. Brisby. Maybe, it's the sweet voice of Elizabeth Hartman, or maybe it's her little mouse eyes (I hope it's not her little mouse eyes). The real secret of NIMH is Mrs. Brisby's cloaked sexuality. Mrs. Brisby was perhaps the first woman a kid growing up in the 80's saw naked. I've talked about it a little bit in my article on cartoon animals with pants, but Mrs. Brisby represents that oddity in cartoon nudity: she's 100% clothed with only a little red cape on. Even though you can see most of everything underneath the cape, it doesn't count as nudity unless she removes the cape. When Mrs. Brisby loses her red cape and is captured by the Fitzgibbon's son as his pet, a strange thing happens: Mrs. Brisby both becomes an ordinary mouse and a naked woman. This scene in particular has some S&M undertones, as well as some of injection scenes with the rats of NIMH.

For a certain age group, Mrs. Brisby was one of the first times a character was recognizably nude on screen. Whereas other funny animal characters like Bugs Bunny are always nude and therefore clothed in their nudity, Mrs. Brisby actually became nude. The other famous nudist cartoon of that time was, of course, those kinky cats of Thundera, the Thundercats.

So, one hand you have the counterculture influence of Fritz the Cat, but the other side is young adults who came into their own sexuality in the era of Saturday morning cartoons. And these two sides meet in Fur. Is it right? Is it wrong? Who knows? But it is a very American concept, these are western ideas of sexuality merging together. Walk tall, Riley, because this is your sexual history, don't let anyone take that way from you.

A Furry Timeline

500 B.C. - Aesop's Fables
1865 - Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
1894 – The Jungle Book
1896 – The Island of Dr. Moreau
1901 – The Tale of Peter Rabbit
1945 – Animal Farm
1950 - The Chronicles of Narnia
1965 – Fritz the Cat
1965 – Kimba the White Lion
1968 – Planet of the Apes (film)
1972 – Watership Down
1973 - Disney's Robin Hood
1980 - Animalympics
1982 – The Secret of NIMH
1983 - Albedo Anthropomorphics
1984 – Omaha the Cat Dancer
1984 – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
1985 - ThunderCats
1990 – Super Mario Bros. 3

As you can see, Furry fandom has a storied history that runs deep through all cultures throughout all of existence. It's definitely more than white and middle class even. It's more than American, European, or Asian. In fact, the animal skins worn by Neanderthal man might be the first evidence of Furry culture.

Though to give some credence to the Asian reference of earlier, the father of all Furries is seldom talked about: Super Mario. While, thousands of anthropomorphic bunnies and foxes inspired Furries everywhere, Mario is one of the first characters I remember to actually dress up as a Furry. And not only did Mario put on raccoon ears and tail, but these items gave him mythical powers, perhaps, the same sort of empowerment Furries find in their own fursuits. But while Mario is a Japanese icon, he's also very much Italian-American. However, it could be in the the same vein Donkey Kong was a caricature of what the Japanese thought of Steve Wozniak (an unconfirmed rumor started by me), Mario is a caricature of the Italian-America. Constantly saying “that's a me,” jumping around, breaking things with their heads, stepping on turtles, doing shrooms, riding dinosaurs, using flower power, chasing after princesses in someone else's castle, and dressing up in animal costumes for kicks. Now that's Italian.

Mario racoon
  • Ben
    Comment from: Ben
    05/25/11 @ 01:27:33 am

    You forget many other cultures, ranging from Babylon to the Ancient Egyptians all had nuances of “furry". The history goes much deeper than one might expect.

  • Comment from: Wolf
    05/26/11 @ 10:21:19 am

    Ben, you are a 100% right. This isn’t really a complete history of furries, but more of general perusing of the past 30 years.

    If you’d like more information about the history of furries, please consult your local library. The more you know.

  • sdsdsd
    Comment from: sdsdsd
    09/23/11 @ 12:42:39 pm

    … and what about the ancient Egyptians, whose gods were almost all part animal?

    … and the whole goddamn religion from the very beginnings was about nature and animal spirits.

    This article is weak.

  • Nadir Balto Yadi
    Comment from: Nadir Balto Yadi
    09/18/12 @ 12:44:30 pm

    This is too biased. I’m looking for an article on the history of the fandom. I know the history is about as old as 1960, but before it became a fandom, furries have been around ever since cavemen. I’m doing an informational speech in college about furries and would need this type of information to do my speech.

  • George washington
    Comment from: George washington
    02/11/13 @ 07:21:18 pm

    Furrys are just cartoon characters. What is so special about that?