A furry, by the dictionary definition, is any creature which is a fusion of human and inhuman animal.
A physical furry is any creature whose body contains a mixture of human and animal characteristics. A creature's "furriness" is typically measured on a scale from zero to twelve, with zero being completely human and twelve being completely beast.
In real life, physical furries can come about one of three ways.
An animal imitator has some sort of surgical procedure done to make them more like their target species, including but not limited to: tatoos, prosthetics, tooth sharpening, silicone implants, skin dye, ear shaping, tongue shaping, whisker implants, hair re-implantation, cybernetics and so on.
Some individuals possess mutations which give them physical characteristics not normally found in humans. These mutations may be original, or they may be hereditary. These may include but are not limited to: fur, horns, scales, a tail, claws, fangs, webbed hands, extra nipples, and so on. Most such mutants do not consider themselves furries.
Some individuals have had animal tissues or organs implanted in them for medical reasons. Such people normally do not consider themselves furries, but do indeed fall under the definition of a furry where certain laws are concerned, including, unfortunately, the Canadian anti-furry law.
Most people who identify themselves as furries are physically normal humans, and only furry on a mental level. Listed below are some of the possible types of mental furriness, arranged from simple to extreme.
Also known as furfen, furry fans are on the fringe of furry society. Many do not consider themselves furries. They enjoy furry art and literature, but do not identify with any species of animal themselves.
Some furries like to role-play animal characters. Others simply enjoy having an animal appearance which they can present to others. Such characters or alternate appearances are known as a "fursona", short for "furry persona". It should be noted that even identifying oneself by an animal name (i.e. "Ricky the Rabbit" or "Sssslither") does in fact count as having a fursona.
Alternative brain structureEdit
This is actually extremely common among those identifying themselves as furries. The most common type is known as Asperger's Syndrome, a type of autism which makes it difficult to connect mentally and socially with those neuro-typical types, but easier to connect with animals and others with the same brain structure.
These rare individuals are so in tune with a particular species of animal's psychology that they are able to act as an intermediary between human and beast.
Most furries identify with a particular species. This may be because of some characteristic they admire, a pleasant experience with such an animal, or any number of other reasons.
Many like to observe animals and emulate those traits which they find favorable. For example, someone who studies lemurs may show respect to the head of his household by waiting to eat until the head of the household has taken his first bite. Others may emulate more general behaviors, such as the courage of a skunk, the playfulness of an otter or the serenity of a cow.
Fursuiters enjoy dressing up in animal costumes, usually in costumes modeled after their own "fursonas".
Some go beyond simple empathy and actually long to have a nonhuman form. For most, the desire is harmless, and usually involves only the desire for what they perceive to be a better body. The desire to be a beast in mind is atypical, and generally not considered healthy. (see boanthropy, below.)
A furry lifestyler adopts customs familiar to the species he identifies with. For example, he may wear a collar, sleep on a pet bed and shower using flea shampoo. Such practices are generally harmless.
Perhaps the most extreme form of lifestyling, naturism usually takes the form of nudism, but at higher levels, aims to eliminate artificiality completely and return to an atavistic lifestyle as a wild animal. Very few humans practice this extreme form of naturism, and those who do are known to take frequent breaks during which they put on clothes and return to civilization.
This practice, more commonly known as bestiality, involves the development of romantic and sexual relationships between humans and beasts. It is illegal in most countries, condemned by most religions, frowned upon by the medical and psychological communities and is not an accepted practice among most of the furry community.
This is a very unhealthy extreme, and is actually a type of madness, in which the individual actually loses human cognitive ability and develops a bestial mind. This is also known as the "curse of Nebuchadnezzar", named after its most famous victim. Boanthropy is extremely rare and never pursued by mentally healthy furries.