Hello Kitty is a Cat: My Open Letter to Sanrio

3 years ago

In case you haven’t heard, Hello Kitty is not a cat. Well, that’s what author Christine R. Yano was told by Sanrio (the company that owns Hello Kitty and her friends) when she was preparing her script for a Hello Kitty exhibit at the Japanese American National Museum.

“Hello Kitty is not a cat. She's a cartoon character. She is a little girl. She is a friend. But she is not a cat. She's never depicted on all fours. She walks and sits like a two-legged creature. She does have a pet cat of her own, however, and it's called Charmmy Kitty."

I’ve been bombarded by texts, emails, phone calls and other messages of concern, asking if I’m going to be okay. Sure I’m okay. Why wouldn’t I be? I don't get myself riled up when someone blatantly lies to the media. I sit in the comfort of my home and laugh with everyone else at someone who would claim, for instance, that a cat isn’t a cat.

Oh, the absurdity.

Anyway, while the purpose of my blog is to post about recipes and the cats that own me, I feel obliged to comment on one of the obsessions I’ve had since I was seven years old, approximately the time I received my first toothbrush that had her head on top—Hello Kitty. So, without further ado, my open letter to Sanrio.

Dear Sanrio,

You’re stupid. What are you going to tell me next? Huckleberry Hound isn’t a dog? The Little Mermaid isn’t a mermaid? Pfffffft.

This “news” is deplorable, and since I’ve been a fan of Hello Kitty since I was seven years old, I’m going to go ahead and school you on why you’re wrong about your own freakin’ product. I mean, come on, dudes. This would be like the circus peanut company releasing a statement that their orange, puffy, delicious peanut-shaped marshmallows are really supposed to be little chocolate burritos. I’d be mad about that too! All these years of chewing into those little fluffy bites of heaven, knowing that they’re shaped like peanuts and made of marshmallows, and you’re going to all of a sudden try to tell me that it’s a mini chocolate burrito that I’ve been eating? No. Doesn’t work. Sorry, Sanrio. Those are orange marshmallow-shaped peanuts, and Hello Kitty is a cat. And I don't even know if this correlation makes sense, but I'm trying to think of something that would make me as mad as when I heard someone try to claim that Hello Kitty isn't a cat.

Here’s the quote that has been reported worldwide—the quote that caused my social networks, phone and email to blow up on Tuesday, August 26, 2014.

“Hello Kitty is not a cat. She's a cartoon character. She is a little girl. She is a friend. But she is not a cat. She's never depicted on all fours. She walks and sits like a two-legged creature. She does have a pet cat of her own, however, and it's called Charmmy Kitty."

Let’s break this down, bit by bit.

Claim 1: Hello Kitty is not a cat.
Retort: Search “famous cartoon cats” on Google. You’re wrong. Hell, go into the lobby of your headquarters and look on the wall. I’m sure she’s plastered everywhere, WITH HER WHISKERS AND POINTY EARS.

Um. Whiskers EVERYWHERE.

Claim 2: She’s a cartoon character.
Retort: Yes, and the sky is blue and the grass is green. NEXT!

Claim 3: She is a little girl.
Retort: Like, officially? No. But I have called my cat, Eleanor, “little girl” before, so I can see where you’re going with this. But please note that this still doesn’t help your claim that she’s not a cat. She’s a little girl cat. Ugh. This is too easy. And you guys are dumb.

Claim 4: She is a friend.
Retort: Here’s where my path to being correct throughout this entire rant ends. Hello Kitty is indeed a friend. She’s my friend. She’s cute, and she looks cuddly, and while she has taken a lot of my hard-earned money over the years with her enticing little shops in malls across America, she is a friend. Ya got me there. Kudos.

Claim 5: But she is not a cat.
Retort: Shut up. You already said that, and you are incorrect, gosh dang it. Ugh times a million.

Claim 7: She’s never depicted on all fours. She walks and sits like a two-legged creature.
Retort: So do kangaroos. You telling me that Kanga and Roo, from Winnie the Poo aren’t kangaroos? Nope. I won’t let you tell me that. Because you’d be wrong.

Double Retort: “Women and cats will do as they damn well please. Men and dogs should relax and get used to it.” Ever heard that quote? That’s from the brilliant science fiction writer, Robert Heinlein. And he’s correct. If Hello Kitty doesn’t want to walk on all fours, so be it. We should be talking about how she’s an extraordinary cat that can walk on her back feet and whatnot. That takes skill and brilliance, but instead of touting your amazingly intelligent creation, you’re reducing her to a simple girlie cartoon that isn’t a cat. She is A BRILLIANT, COORDINATED KITTY. OWN THAT SHIZ, SANRIO.

Triple Retort: Other cats that stand on two feet include: Sylvester. Garfield. Tom (from Tom & Jerry). You should probably just go hide now, Sanrio.

Oh, and by the way, when you Google search “Hello Kitty on all fours,” some weird stuff comes up. Don’t do it.

Claim 8: She does have a pet cat of her own, however, and it’s called Charmmy Kitty.
Retort: So? I have four cats, including the queen, Eleanor, as mentioned above. Eleanor shares ownership of the other three with me. See? Cats can have pets. In this particular case with Hello Kitty, she just prefers the company of the most regal, elegant animal on the face on the planet. Who can blame her? A little conceited and pompous? Maybe. But she’s a confident kitty, and again, you’re reducing her to a simple cartoon girl. SHE IS A LIONESS.

Okay, well I feel like this letter needs to come to a close at some point because, while I do want to embarrass you and make you feel stupid, Sanrio, I do have a heart. And Hello Kitty would want me to be your friend. Jury's still out on that one. I need time to heal from this betrayal. So, I'll close and let you stew on all these scientific facts that I just produced for you.


Daniele Cusentino
Hello Kitty Fan Extraordinaire

P.S. Is Chococat a cat? For the love of God...

Discover simple recipes and more occasional rants like this on my blog, The Kitten Kitchen.

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