A "furry", to put it most simply, is an anthropomorphised animal, meaning an animal that has been given human traits. In any given character or individual, the degree of anthropomorphisation can vary widely, from something as simple as an animal with human speech and thought processes, to a creature that is made to look and behave nearly like a human. The variations in between these two extremes make for a wide spectrum in which the imagination is free to play.
Naturally, there is a fandom based upon an interest in these fascinating characters. A furry fanatic can be defined as any individual who takes an interest in anthropomorphic animals, be it in roleplaying, artwork, costuming, spirituality, or whatnot.
Arguably, the main focus of this fandom is roleplay, which is the practice of
creating an identity and playing it out in whatever manner is suitable. Most furs (the
commonly used, truncated version of furry fans) have what is called a 'personal furry',
which is a character that represents their real self in some manner, and through which
they identify and interact with other furs. Similarly, many furs simply use a character
that they have an interest in yet do not attach any personal details to.
Like any other microcosm of society, the furry fandom has a number of other facets that the fans themselves have adapted into their own furry identities. For simplicity's sake, these are honorably mentioned in this writing, since they are not necessarily a defining feature of the furry fandom.
Much of the fandom's characters are based upon a science fiction, fantasy, or cartoon medium. Each fan has their own preferences, ranging from the abstraction that occurs with cartoon characters, to the realism that can be brought into science fiction characters. Mainstream examples of anthropomorphised animals include Warner's Bugs Bunny, the Esso tiger, the cast of Disney's The Lion King, Howard the Duck, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and even the rabbits of Watership Down.