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What Are Furry Scales?

If you’ve spent some time in the fandom, there’s a chance that you’ve stumbled across a furry scale without even knowing its a furry scale. Furry scales refer to illustrations of a human progressively becoming more and more animal-like until they fully become an animal. Each illustration is typically coupled with a strip of text that describes the phase of progression that the drawing is in like “not furry”, “semi-furry”, “furry”, etc. Furry scales are supposed to help furries find the cut-off point at which the viewer is no longer attracted to the illustration. However, they’re kind of a meme that swept the fandom, people beginning to satirize them as time went on and creating more and more nonsensical versions of them.

The 6 Stages Of The Furry Scale

A lot of furry scales are broken down into six stages of progression ranging from completely human to just an animal and they go as follows.

Not Furry: This is the stage at which the character is still completely human. They do not bear any visible similarities to an animal at all.

Semi Furry: Semi furry is the point that obscures the character between neko (cat girls) and furry. This is where the character has developed features like animal ears, whiskers or most often a tail

Furry: This is the point of no return. The character is starting to resemble an animal with human features more than it is a human with animal features. This typically means a full coat of fur, paws, a pointy nose, but they are still bipedal.

Very Furry: The character begins to fall into the uncanny valley, becoming an animal that if you looked closely you could see human traits in. They have all the same traits as a furry and are now comfortable walking on all fours. Also, they begin to lack a need for clothes as their fur slowly becomes their clothes.

What Are You Doing You Sick Bastard?: This stage is more popularly known by another name which you can find here but for the sake of keeping this appropriate we’ll go with this alternative. This stage describes the point where almost all human-like qualities are gone, the only similarity maybe being human eyes or an accessory like a bow. Apart from this, the character has become completely quadrupedal and has the posture and frame of an animal.

Please Reconsider: Named this because it assumes the viewer wants to have sex with each progression of the scale, the “Please Reconsider” stage of the furry scale is no longer human in any way. It is literally just an animal, void of all human qualities.

The 6 Stages of The Furry Scale

Illustration Originally by かb via Pixiv

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Where Did Furry Scales Start?

Furry scales actually date back as far as the 90s. On February 7th 1996, in a document known as The Code of Furries, a rating system which described where people “fall on the human-to-animal scale” was added. It described the following six stages which likely manifested into the illustrations that we know today.

1 : Basically human, with minor furry features (perhaps eyes, nose, ears, claws, some fur, etc)

2 : Humanoid, with significant furry features (muzzle, tail, etc); this includes centaurs and mer-people

3 : Anthropomorphic animal (or taur)

4 : Equally comfortable on two or four legs (or, if you’re a taur, on four or six)

5 : Animal shape, with some unusual features (perhaps hands, speech, etc); this includes most dragons, griffins, etc

6 : Normal animal shape

After this, furry scales wouldn’t see much of a notable mention until June 16th 2010 when a user on the site pixiv, an art sharing site, uploaded an illustration of a girl progressively turning into a fox. It didn’t have any of the aforementioned text above each stage, instead reading This was likely the post that opened the floodgates for the several hundred more furry scales that came in the following years, many of them even satirizing this exact same post.

Then, 2 years later on December 4th 2012, a DeviantArt user, Timscorpion, posted an illustration titled “Sliding Scale of Anthropomorphism” which depicted a moth-human hybrid slowly turning into a moth. It only took another 2 years, on March 3rd 2014, for Reddit user Psykun to post an illustration of Bastet from the video game SMITE, progressively turning into a cat. Several more would continue to be posted between and after these years and you can still find plenty on sites like DeviantArt to this day.

The Rise In Popularity of Furry Scales

Okay, so we understand a brief history of furry scales and how they work, but why are so many people searching for them. For one, this might be because of a video made September 9th 2021 by YouTuber and meme scholar: Professor Lando titled “The Reason Why You’re Actually A Furry” in which he takes a dive into furry culture and the furry scale. The video is definitely worth a watch, but apart from being a good video, more importantly, it caused several other furry YouTubers like BetaEtaDelota to add their own commentary, creating reaction videos and commentary videos on the topic. Although it’s just speculation, that could be why furry scales have seen such a surge in popularity recently.

Furry Scale

Accessed via KnowYourMeme

Why Do People Make Furry Scales?

People make furry scales for a load of reasons. For one, some people just like to make them as a cool art concept, as opposed to the standard headshot or portrait of their fursona, furry scales are a fun, creative way of depicting your fursona.

However, some people make them for the more practical purpose of a guide to help understand how much of a furry someone is. The further on the scale you place yourself, the more of a furry you are. You place yourself on the scale based on your attraction to each character, so, the point at which you have zero attraction to the character is what you should place yourself before. Of course this isn’t indisputable evidence of how much of a furry you are but it’s more of a fun game you can play with friends.

For the most part though, people just make these scales either as a joke or because they want something to draw. It’s even a way people can illustrate how they resemble their own fursona or fursuit.

Po-Ju Furry Scale

Probably one of the most memed and notorious furry scales is the Po-Ju Furry Scale. Po-Ju is a hentai artist who at some point decided to make a furry scale of his own with 5 levels ranging from 5% to 100%. At 5% and 10% he depicts a girl with blonde hair and cat ears that poke out the top and a collar, the only difference between the two being that in 10% her eyes and ears grow slightly bigger. The text underneath them reads “Not furry”. Then, at 50% the same girl has grown a full coat of fur and her eyes begin to resemble that of a cat and the text underneath her reads “Furry”. By 75% her nose begins to transform into a cat’s nose and the pattern in her fur develops further as the text reads “Dangerously Furry”. 100% is just a literal cat and below the cat it reads “You Sick Bastard”. To this day, the drawing stands as one of the most famous examples of a furry scale and likely will be for the years to come.

This isn’t the original meme obviously but I couldn’t find a good resolution image of it

For Original Meme Look Here

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Xege Kheiru

Jennifer is an ex-costume designer turned fursuit maker, better known by her fursona's name Xege Kheiru. Under this alias she has written extensively for the Fursonafy blog and many others on the topic of fursuit making and general information about the furry fandom.

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