People—whether they’re furries, the media, or inquisitive observers—often ask for an explanation of where furries come from. Specifically, they want to know how a person’s interest in furry (and their willingness to seek out the furry community) came to be. To answer this question, we’ve asked furries about the origins of their interests in a multitude of ways.
In one study, we asked whether furries’ interests were driven primarily by a feeling inside of them (often expressed by statements such as “I just always was a furry” or “I was a furry, I just didn’t know it”), or whether it was something they discovered based on external influence (often expressed by statements such as “A friend introduced me to it and I was hooked” or “I discovered furry on the internet and wanted to be a part of it”).1 Results found 45% of furries said it was both—a combination of something within them and a catalyzing exposure to the furry community. About 33% said it was solely an outside influence, while 22% said their interests came solely from within them (3% said it was neither).
Some furries were able to identify a specific instance, experience, or influence that sparked their furry interests. For these furries, we asked them to indicate, on a 7-point scale, the extent to which different factors influenced their furry interests (1 = not at all an influence to 7 = very important influence; see figure below.)2 While some factors were more common (e.g., the internet, a feeling inside, exposure to artwork) or far less common (e.g., having a pet, another fandom), it seems that there are a myriad of forces that spark furries’ interests, and that no one factor “causes” furries to be furries.