Hot news out of Japan: Hello Kitty—a stuffed animal that looks like a cat, talks like a cat, and is named after a cat—actually isn't a cat at all.

The earth shattering disclosure was made in advance of the first Hello Kitty-con, set to take place in Los Angeles this fall. Anthropologist Christine R. Yano explained the strange logic to the Los Angeles Times:

"That's one correction Sanrio made for my script for the show. Hello Kitty is not a cat. She's a cartoon character. She is a little girl. She is a friend. But she is not a cat. She's never depicted on all fours. She walks and sits like a two-legged creature. She does have a pet cat of her own, however, and it's called Charmmy Kitty"

So what exactly is she? According to her designer, she's a forty-year-old receptacle for your bizarre projections.

Kitty looks happy when people are happy. She looks sad when they are sad. For this psychological reason, we thought she shouldn't be tied to any emotion - and that's why she doesn't have a mouth.

The British "perpetual third-grader" is also apparently a twin, a Scorpio, and a big fat fraud.

[image via AP, h/t LAist]