By Jack Little
Of all the subcultures that the internet exposed in the new millennium, from all the hundreds of varieties that all rampantly fractured into thousands of niches, there is one that still has the ability to shock: The Furries. The subculture was conceived in the 80s at a science-fiction convention where a group were discussing Albedo Anthropomorphics, a comic book series started by Steve Gallacci. The series was a mash of romance, sci-fi, war and fantasy, and hasn’t seen a new issue published since 2005. But the subculture eclipsed the series long ago. In fact, it has become so far removed that it doesn’t come up once in the conversation I have with Lilka. All most people know about them is that they dress up like anthropomorphic animal characters and meet up…then what?
Hey, my first question is why did you choose to become a furry, what enticed you into it?
Well, I guess a big part of it was when I was little I really loved animals; I always felt for them and I actually kind of wishes I could be a cat. I’ve always loved felines and once I found the furry culture (when I was around 11 or 12) online – I really enjoyed the art and I wanted to create my own fursona. I dabbled around with different looks on IMVU, through people who sold different furs, tails and head shapes virtually. Eventually, when I was like 16 I started coming up with the concept of Lilka.
“Things as simple as a sort of unique fur pattern, or even glowing genitals”
I’m guessing Lilka is your fursona, what does having a fursona entail?
Yes Lilka is my fursona – basically having a fursona is like having a unique way to represent yourself in the community. You choose a species – or you can even come up with a hybrid, or your own unique species – many people also believe what kind of species you choose says something about your personality, whether it just describes your fursona’s personality, or your own. Then you can decide on things like a name, fur colour and different types of characteristics to make your fursona your own. These can be things as simple as a sort of unique fur pattern, or even glowing genitals. It’s really up to the individual to decide what you want your fursona to be and represent – and the more creative you get, the harder it is to have someone copy your look and get away with it.
So what have you done to make Lilka individual and what does it mean?
Well, for me Lilka is like an extension of myself. She’s like me – only more playful, sure of herself and sassy. She’s confident in all situations and not afraid to fight for herself. This is like me in a way, but I have anxiety in real life and it can be hard to fight for what I believe in and be assertive in certain situations – Lilka doesn’t struggle with that. She’s sweet, kind and overall “cutesy” – but she’s not afraid to pull out the claws when she has to.
“Lilka represents what I find to be adorable, sweet, and innocent while also representing myself – which can be far from innocent, but with Lilka her sexuality is milder and somewhat under wraps”
As for her physical appearance, I’ve gone into in-depth detail to make her as unique and charming as possible, all while portraying things that I find ideal and enjoy – though things like her proportions are not realistic or what I desire to be in real life. But she’s a hybrid between an ocelot, a tiger and a European wildcat. Her fur is a light purple with tiger stripes, her tail is that of a European wildcat and she has the head shape of an ocelot (which I find extremely adorable) – on top of that she has some very individual fur patterns; a big patch of fur that’s a pastel rainbow pattern, along with the insides of her ears. She also has a heart shaped patch of fur on her butt, I thought it added a cute touch.
So basically, Lilka represents what I find to be adorable, sweet, and innocent while also representing myself – which can be far from innocent, but with Lilka her sexuality is milder and somewhat under wraps.
How often do you live as Lilka and when you are her, what do you do?
Well, she’s mostly a role-play character at this point. I may explore presenting as her and channelling her characteristics once I get a custom fursuit made – which would be at different anime conventions in my area and possibly things like AnthroCon. But for now, Lilka has her own Facebook page. I generally get on there and talk to other individuals, participate in different kinds of role-play as Lilka and contribute to the online community as a whole. I also have an account on FurAffinity which is under Lilka’s identity, that’s mostly for connecting with artists and exploring different ways to develop Lilka’s own personality. Other than that, I’ll use her name on other online accounts (such as this one) when I don’t want to actually go under my real name and retain some anonymity.
So do you go to furry conventions, or is it general cosplaying?
Currently, I’ve only been to anime conventions. I’ve attended both PokéCon and Ohayocon – Ohayocon is held in Columbus, Ohio annually, and the year I went to PokéCon was when it was held in Louisville, Kentucky. So they’re just generally cosplayers – you’ll see people in fursuits at those types of conventions, but they’re not specifically geared towards the furry community. In the past, I’ve cosplayed as Fionna from Adventure Time, and also gone around in some basic pet-like wear – such as a clip-on tail, headband feline ears, and a collar that I’ve had custom made.
“We’ll hug when we see each other and sometimes I’ll give them a tummy scratch”
When you meet others in fursuits and you become friends, do you exclusively know each other through your fursonas or do you become friends and meet up with their human identity as well?
Most of the people I meet in fursuits, I generally just associate with at the conventions. We’ll hug when we see each other and sometimes I’ll give them a tummy scratch. But through Lilka’s Facebook, it really depends. Once I get to know someone really well, we’ll usually tell each other our real names and sometimes we’ll swap phone numbers and text each other. I don’t know many furries in my area, so I’ve not met up with anyone in real life. The only other furry I’m well acquainted with in real life is my Master. We were dating, but currently we’re apart and working on our relationship – though he’s still my Master and I’m still his pet, our fursonas are listed as still being together, though. I’ve known him since high school, he was a senior when I was a sophomore and shortly after we were first acquainted we figured out we were both furries, and really bonded over that – even before we dated.
So how much of a role does being a furry play in your sex life?
In general, not much at all. When I was with my Master, we had an open relationship so I would hook up with other people – and most of them didn’t even know I was a furry and if they did it wasn’t part of our hooking up. But with my Master, I’ll just call him Sacha (his fursona name) for these purposes, him and I are incorporated that as much as we could. Mainly, we’d incorporate it when we would text each other and do sexual role-plays with each others fursonas. But other than that, we’re also into BDSM – and would incorporate things to play into the Master/pet experience; such as collars, leashes, different types of commands and I will call him Master in bed. He wants to walk me around on a leash around the house prior to sex, as well. We’ve just yet to actually do that.
Lastly, do your parents know about your other furry life, if so what do they make of it?
My dad has seen a picture of my fursona, but I don’t know that he’s aware of what any of that entails. He didn’t have any sort of reaction to it, just thought it was a cool character I came up with – he also thought I was weird, but he’d think that either way and it’s not like he negatively thinks of me as weird. I live with my mom and her parents, my mom is aware of everything that goes along with my furry life, she was even the one who paid for the custom collar for Christmas one year. So she’s very accepting, and actually thinks it’s really cool – I know she’s worn cat ears before, but I’m not entirely sure if she’d be interested in developing her own fursona or not. She’s even coloured “fan art” of Lilka. As for her parents, they’ve also seen a picture of Lilka and are kind of like my dad – they think it’s kind of weird, but they don’t judge me for it and respect that it’s something I enjoy, I tried to describe the culture to them, but I don’t think they really understood.
Thank you for your time Lilka!