CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again


Cat or a dog? The internet's having trouble deciding

This furry French-Canadian friend has a motto: He's hairy, not scary. But can you tell his species at a glance?

Furry French-Canadian pet Atchoum may be Instagram-famous, but the debate over just what exactly this furry dude is runs along the same lines as the famous white-gold-blue-black dress. You see what you see, and no one can persuade you differently.

So look for yourself: is Atchoum a cat, or a dog?

Atchoum knows what he is, do you?

Atchoum the

Got your answer? Does this image change your mind?

Really, why is my gender even an issue?

Does this one feel more feline, or canter toward the canine?

Atchoum means "sneezy," and he does always look as if he's just sneezed. Or been sneezed on.

Atchoum, as you may have figured out, is a cat -- a 2-year-old Persian who belongs to Nathalie, a pet groomer in Quebec. He has a rare condition called hypertricosis, also known as "werewolf syndrome," which accounts for his wild and crazy hair growth, thicker-than-normal claws, and perhaps the species confusion some feel upon looking at his photos.

While he's had a web presence since he was a kitten, the dog/cat confusion recently started up again thanks to this recent tweet.

"Atchoum arouses all kinds of good or bad reactions, funny and often people take him for a plush, so comparison with a dog is nothing new to us," his owner said of the latest furry flap. "As for the frenzy caused last weekend by the photo ... it was not a surprise, it wasn't the first time that it happened, except that this time it's quite a bit more intense."

The cat himself has a few points to make about his looks. "It's a good thing my mom is a groomer because my crazy long hairs on my face are thick like a dog," Atchoum "says" on his website. "She doesn't over-groom me, since she likes my mad scientist look!"

More than 63,000 people have liked Atchoum's Facebook fan page, which surprised his owner, who made a bet with her daughter that the page would never top 100 likes. Nathalie also posts photos of her pet on Instagram, along with his motto, "I'm hairy, not scary!"

A veterinarian monitors the animal's health, since the family reports he's the only cat known to have this condition, meaning there's no road map for Atchoum's health. Still, he's paw-sitive about his outlook. "Life is good," Atchoum "writes." "I feel good and I believe we need to enjoy every day."