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(August 28, 2014) – Globally-popular children’s character “Hello Kitty” turns 40 this year — and with that birthday comes a surprise revelation.

Her creators say Hello Kitty is not a cat!

That’s according to Sanrio — the Japanese company that owns and manages the “Hello Kitty” brand.

The Los Angeles Times spoke with Christine R. Yano, an anthropologist from the University of Hawaii who has spent years studying the phenomenon that is Hello Kitty.

While Yano was preparing written texts for Hello Kitty’s 40th Anniversary, she described Hello Kitty as a cat.

And she was firmly corrected by Sanrio.

“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,” said Yano

The Los Angeles Times reports that Hello Kitty’s name is actually Kitty White, and she has a full back story. She is the daughter of Mary White and George White, and she has a twin sister named Mimmy.

All this comes as Hello Kitty and friends prepares for a 40th anniversary party LA, at the Japanese American National Museum, starting in October.

Later that month, the first-ever Hello Kitty Con will draw fans from around the world to Los Angeles.