Furry fans, sometimes referred to as furries or furs for short, are eager for more material than is available from mainstream publishers. The demand is filled by fellow fans – amateur to professional artists, writers, and publishers who produce drawings, paintings, stories, independent comic books, fanzines, Web sites and even small press books. Fans with craft skills put together their own stuffed plush furry toys, sometimes referred to as plushies, or build elaborate furry costumes called fursuits (with features such as ears, fur, long tails, moving jaws, and even animatronics) and dress up in them for fun, or to participate in convention masquerades, dances or fund raising charity events. Charitable works are a tradition in furry fandom; many conventions feature an auction or fundraising event with the proceeds often going to an animal-related charity. Over the past 5 years, furries have raised over $90,000 for animal rescue organizations and animal therapy groups.
Some furry fans create furry personas (imaginary characters based on their own personalities) by which they become widely known in the fandom. A yearning to explore self-identity is common among these fans. They may write stories centered on their characters, build or commission fursuits so they can "come to life" as their character, commission artwork, or engage in role-playing sessions on one of the many furry-themed MUDs on the Internet, the oldest of which is FurryMUCK. When such furry fans meet one another in person, they may be more familiar with one another's online personas than with their real identities.
I got to meet furry fans at a convention in Chicago.
1. Fursuiters (those who like to dress up)
2. Otherkin (those who believe that they aren't human in spirit)
3. Furries (those who like to roleplay, draw, or write stories about furries)
4. Furverts (Or: Furry Fetishists. This, in turn, can be divided into many more subcultures, all grouped by specific fetishes, like feet, macros, and other fetishes)
5. Trans-species (Those who physically alter their body to resemble their respective animal's)
The majority of furries interact in one or two virtual environments: Furcadia (which caters specifically to furries) and Second Life (which is famous for furries, but caters to everyone). Known for being very social creatures, it's not uncommon to see a furry make friends with many other furries. Social stigma, however, makes it harder for those who are "openly furry" to socialize with those who have a negative opinion about it.
That is not to say, however, that this subculture is undeserving of some of its criticism. Of all the strangest fetishes that exist in this planet, they are only made stranger by this subculture. Suffice it to say, the author has seen some pretty disturbing things; things that cannot be mentioned here. However, the majority of furries (and even furverts) exist outside of this disturbing minority and are happily content.
"Yeah, but I don't do that whole fursuiting thing."
"Really? I thought all furries dressed up as animals..."
"...I've got a lot to teach you."
2. Fans of artwork and stories about anthropomorphic animals.
Furries at last year's charity auction raised over $8000 for a ferret shelter. (def. 2)
Fans of furry characters are also called furries.
Furries are friendly and fun to hang around with.
Socially speaking, Furries are generaly more liberal then you would expect. So you come across a lot of things that would shock most people... things like erotic art (yiff), gays and straight people acutally getting along, and a general acceptance of different religions including paganism, atheism, and yes even Christianity. Because of this, furries are subject to a lot of "trolling" on the internet and even by media in a few instances. This has made several, especially young, furs self-conscious and has led to the stereotype of having a persecution complex.
Most of the furs I know are over that, most attempts of "fur-bashing" are laughable at best. And in the end the only real threat to the fandom is on the internet... big deal right? And all the things that are "wrong" with the fandom are almost part of it's charm, if that makes any kind of sense.