Furry Confusion

"The classic Disney cartoon universe has traditionally hosted two types of animals. The first type includes human-like animals such as Goofy and Mickey Mouse who wear clothes, pay taxes, and speak in some kind of coherent human language. The other type more closely resembles actual animals — Pluto, for example, runs around naked, eats whatever he happens to find laying on the floor, and sniffs the crotches of random strangers, just like your average real-world dog (Goofy, on the other hand, only pulls that shit in fanfic)."

In many cartoon or comic settings one will often find that the characters are anthropomorphic animals. The audience tends to accept this without question — until non-humanlike animals appear in the same continuity. Fortunately the audience doesn't usually have a big problem with this.

Things get unquestionably weird when non-humanlike specimens of the same species of animals the main characters are based upon are shown existing in the setting alongside them.

Some Furry Fiction Hand Waves this by explaining that their very humanoid characters have a science-fiction basis. They may be mutants or visiting aliens or something. Perhaps they are normal animals who evolved into a humanlike form after gaining intelligence (so any non-anthros would be their equivalents to chimps or something). This explanation is generally fine as long as there are actual humans forming the rest of the cast. If there aren't any humans around — or if there's no explanation given at all — expect the wave of unsettling implications to hit you soon. The sight of a talking dog-man owning a pet dog (or of a chicken-man eating fried chicken) is pretty strange.

Fantasy settings may explain their Petting Zoo People in other ways. They may be cursed or infested (Werewolf) humans; in this case the trope can be averted for drama. A wizard or god may polymorph himself or other people in a form that is more useful for the current task or simply magically create them from nothing. Or they simply exist in the setting (nobody can disprove that dragons and unicorns can talk because they don't exist in Real Life).

Very often crosses over with Carnivore Confusion, Furry Denial, and occasionally with What Measure Is a Non-Cute? and No Cartoon Fish. See also Anthropomorphic Shift and Feather Fingers. See Animal Gender Bender and Ass in a Lion Skin for a whole new level of confusion. Very often happens because Most Writers Are Human and Furries Are Easier to Draw.

Example subpages

    open/close all folders 

  • Minotaurs are especially prone to weirdness (see also Non-Mammal Mammaries and the World of Warcraft examples below). The Kystonia line of collectible figures has two characters named Moplos and Mos. Moplos is a Minotaur-like creature. Mos is his "pack animal" who looks eerily like a non-anthro bovine. Now, the literature assures us that they are very different species — but they look darn near identical except for the fact that one of them walks like a man and the other is on all fours.
  • Enjoy a new level of Furry Confusion with this collection of all-animal Nativity sets (horrible Geocities-era web design in that link; you may have to scroll down). The very sight of Moose-Jesus is a good indication of why Brian Jaques ignores this issue entirely.
    • This has to have something to do with Christian Furries, who probably warrant a mention on this page anyway.
  • Here is one to mull over — iconic cute mascot Hello Kitty has a pet cat named Charmmy Kitty. It doesn't help that if it weren't for her tufts of fur and non-anthro body, she would look exactly like her owner.
    • Sanrio execs, preparing for the big Hello Kitty exhibition in Los Angeles, cat-egorically stated that Hello Kitty is ''not a cat.'' As you can see from the comments and twitters, fans aren't buying it.

    Fan Works 
  • In Turnabout Storm, Rarity gets quite puzzled when Phoenix tells her that the ponies in his world are not as nearly as talkative, intelligent and not-stinky as the ones in Equestria. Welp, there goes Rarity and her new trans-dimensional clients.
  • In the same vein, Becoming Ponies inevitably has people turned ponies meeting actual horses. The incidents are... weird, to say the least.
  • Also in the same vein, Anthropology has Lyra, an unicorn-turned-human meeting actual horses at a ranch when she first enters Earth. She understandably feels confused as to why the horses don't answer to her, seeing as she's lived all her life among talking horses.
  • And then we get, in The Audience, a human has come to Equestria and various human items are too. Celestia has established a McDonald's. He is initially hesitant, knowing that in Equestria cows are people and chickens and pigs are pet animals (there is actually a cow working at the register!), but then Celestia reveals that the burgers are made of a meat substitute that passed through the portal. When he orders a milkshake, one of the ponies says that it's empty and then asks the cow to go to the milking machine. He is understandably Squicked out by this, as he isn't used for a sapient creature to be providing the milk. Also, there are "My Little Human" toys in the happy meals.
  • This Don't Hug Me I'm Scared fancomic.

  • This Music Video.
  • K-9 Corp's Dog Talk uses the aforementioned Goofy confusion in a seriously squicky way. It doesn't help that it's an Ear Worm.
  • Rathergood tends to use anthro cats as performers in their music videos. So in "When I Had a Cold" the anthro cat performer sings that he "snotted and snotted all over my cat", which is illustrated as an ordinary, non-anthro kitten.
  • The video for Goldfrapp's Strict Machine has men with dog heads pasted over their heads. At the end of the video, they are shown walking normal dogs.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Ironclaw and sister game Jadeclaw try to sidestep the issue by invoking Reptiles Are Abhorrent. The setting is full of anthropomorphic animal races. So what do the noble horse knights ride? Giant lizards. What are those animals people eat like chickens? Uh... winged lizards.
  • Averted in World Tree, due to the conspicuous absence of any "real" animals matching the Prime races.
  • The leonin Ajani Goldmane of Magic: The Gathering is vexed in Alara Unbroken when he visits Bant and sees the leotau the knights use as their steeds. They look a lot like his own race, but they're non-sentient.
  • Addressed in the rules for Toon: The Cartoon RPG; the game makes a distinction between "real" animals and Toons who happen to be Funny Animals.
  • In Hc Svnt Dracones both genetically engineered human-animal hybrids called "Vectors" and normal animals exist in the post-humanity solar system. And Vectors with the "Lateral" mutation can pose as normal animals.

  • Plant example in Monster High: Venus Mc Flttrap's pet is a plant that isn't humanoid, but is clearly not a normal plant either.
    • Rochelle Roux, a humanoid gargoyle, also has a more typical gargoyle as a pet.
  • Sylvanian Families is a franchise consisting of Petting Zoo People. They go to school, get jobs as doctors, drive old-fashioned motorcycles and... run farms. As well, they can go show-jumping, drive horse-driven carts, and dress up as other animals. They also have teddy bears.
  • Generation 1 My Little Pony characters were generally somewhat civilized animals, and generally acted like horses that just happened to talk and live in castles and occasionally wear clothes. Everything they ate - whether it popcorn or grass - was normally something a vegetarian could... yet there's a pony named Munchy, who has pictures of hot dogs all over her body, and her card refers to ponies eating hot dogs. But surprisingly, this is Truth in Television! Horses often eat hot dogs, hamburgers, fish and God knows what else.