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Ryan Robertson

Anchor/Investigative Reporter

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No, ‘furries’ are not invading US schools and demanding litter boxes

Oct 05, 2022

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Ryan Robertson

Anchor/Investigative Reporter

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What’s your favorite conspiracy theory? The moon landing was fake? The earth is flat? Oswald didn’t act alone? Well, for some, a conspiracy theory about furries taking over schools and demanding litter boxes in the restrooms just seems too real to be fake. But it is.

Now, furries are real. They’ve been around for a while. A furry is someone who really likes anthropomorphic or cartoon animals, and dresses up like them. Furries create “fursonas.” They have conventions. They probably get really hot wearing those suits in the summer, but they aren’t taking over public schools. And there are no reports of litter boxes being provided in lieu of, well, the loo.

But those facts didn’t stop Heidi Ganahl, the Republican candidate for governor in Colorado, from spreading the lie during a radio interview in Denver this week.

“Not many people know that we have furries in Colorado schools,” Ganahl said. “Yeah, kids identifying as cats. It sounds absolutely ridiculous, but it’s happening all over Colorado and schools are tolerating it.”

Again, furries are not taking over schools.

When Ganahl was pressed to provide evidence by local media in Colorado, she shared one non-descript image. Politifact, Reuters, the Associated Press and USA Today have all debunked the hoax. But Ganahl is far from the first Republican to float the furry fallacy.

In March, on the floor of the State Legislature, a Nebraska state senator brought up furries during a debate over school funding.

At one point in his speech, Senator Bruce Bostelman said, “Now schools are wanting to put litter boxes in the schools for these children to use. How is this sanitary?”

It’s not. And schools aren’t doing it.

Now, after giving that speech, Bostelman apologized for making the false claims, but clips of his remarks went viral. According to Forbes, a woman at a Michigan school board meeting in January may have been the first person to reference furries “floofing” at schools.

In a video shared on Twitter, the woman can be heard saying, “Yesterday, I heard at least one of the schools in our town, in one of the unisex bathrooms, there’s a litter box for the kids that identify as cats. And I am really disturbed by that.”

A lot of folks might be too, if it were real. But again, there have been no reported cases of furries—cat, dog or otherwise—invading schools and using litter boxes.

Schools around the country have flatly debunked these claims.

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WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE CONSPIRACY THEORY? THE MOON LANDING WAS FAKE? THE EARTH IS FLAT? OSWALD DIDN’T ACT ALONE?

WELL, FOR SOME, A CONSPIRACY THEORY ABOUT FURRIES TAKING OVER SCHOOLS AND DEMANDING LITTER BOXES IN THE RESTROOMS JUST SEEMS TOO REAL TO BE FAKE. BUT, IT IS

NOW, FURRIES ARE REAL. THEY’VE BEEN AROUND FOR A WHILE. A FURRY IS SOMEONE WHO REALLY LIKES ANTHROPOMORPHIC OR CARTOON ANIMALS, AND DRESSES UP LIKE THEM.

FURRIES CREATE FURSONAS. THEY HAVE CONVENTIONS. THEY PROBABLY GET REALLY HOT WEARING THOSE SUITS IN THE SUMMER, BUT THEY AREN’T TAKING OVER PUBLIC SCHOOLS. AND THERE ARE NO REPORTS OF LITTER BOXES BEING PROVIDED IN LIEU OF, WELL, THE LOO.

BUT THOSE FACTS DIDN’T STOP HEIDI GANAHL, THE REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE FOR GOVERNOR IN COLORADO, FROM SPREADING THE LIE DURING A RADIO INTERVIEW THIS WEEK.

Ganahl: Not many people know that we have furries in Colorado schools. Have you heard about this Jimmy? Yeah, kids identifying as cats. It sounds absolutely ridiculous, but it’s happening all over Colorado and schools are tolerating it.

AGAIN, FURRIES ARE NOT TAKING OVER SCHOOLS.

WHEN GANAHL WAS PRESSED TO PROVIDE EVIDENCE, SHE SHARED ONE NON-DESCRIPT IMAGE.

POLITIFACT, REUTERS, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS AND USA TODAY HAVE ALL DEBUNKED THE HOAX. BUT GANAHL IS FAR FROM THE FIRST REPUBLICAN TO FLOAT THE FURRY FALLACY.

IN MARCH, ON THE FLOOR OF THE LEGISLATURE, A NEBRASKA STATE SENATOR BROUGHT UP FURRIES DURING A DEBATE OVER SCHOOL FUNDING.

Bostelman: And now schools are wanting to put litter boxes in the schools for these children to use. How is this sanitary?

IT’S NOT. AND SCHOOLS AREN’T DOING IT.

NOW, AFTER GIVING THAT SPEECH, BOSTELMAN APOLOGIZED FOR MAKING THE FALSE CLAIMS, BUT CLIPS OF HIS REMARKS WENT VIRAL.

ACCORDING TO FORBES, A WOMAN AT A MICHIGAN SCHOOL BOARD MEETING IN JANUARY MAY HAVE BEEN THE FIRST PERSON TO REFERENCE FURRIES FLOOFING AT SCHOOLS.

Michigan woman: Yesterday I heard at least one of the schools in our town, in one of the unisex bathrooms, there’s a litter box for the kids that identify as cats. And I am really disturbed by that.

I MIGHT BE TOO, IF IT WERE REAL. BUT AGAIN, THERE HAVE BEEN NO REPORTED CASES OF FURRIES—CAT, DOG OR OTHERWISE—INVADING SCHOOLS AND USING LITTER BOXES.

SCHOOLS AROUND THE COUNTRY HAVE FLATLY DEBUNKED THESE CLAIMS.