Sorin Katt on coordinating Rocky Mountain Fur Con 2011 and becoming a furry himself
When we called Sorin Katt for the interview, we asked to speak with Kevin, his legal first name. He told us we had the wrong number. When we asked to speak with Sorin, however, he responded immediately. Besides talking to us about how he got involved in the furry lifestyle (the "fandom"), Rocky Mountain Fur Con and the fur community at large, Sorin, who is 33, also told us about his dayjob -- software development -- and his partner of nine years, whose fursona is a fox. Although his developer co-workers know Sorin runs a convention, he doesn't flaunt his furry lifestyle: "It's not something I hide, but it's not something I make a big deal of -- just like a lot of things in people's lives," he explains.
Westword: What drew you to the Furry Lifestyle?
Sorin Katt: It was actually sort of accidental. I found it on the Internet and it just kind of clicked. I'd always been very into the anthropomorphic and animals, and it was just finding a community that was as into it as I was. First it was the Internet, then through conventions. I was just browsing the Internet and found stuff, artwork, that led me to the sites for some of the artists in the community at the time. It sort of went from there, looking around and gathering information. That was twelve years ago.
With twelve years of identifying with furrying, what have been some significant moments for you in the lifestyle?
Attending my first convention was pretty significant. Going to conventions plays a large role in our fandom because our population is so diverse and spread out throughout the country that it's a good opportunity to come together with the artists and creators in the community to connect. There's a lot of people that I'll only see at conventions every year.
The big thing about conventions is meeting people that they'll only see at these events. It's really more the social aspect and getting together with people who have the same interests that you do.
From going to the different conventions and events, how many people do you personally know as furries?
In the hundreds, if not thousands of people. I know a lot of people. A lot of people know me.
How does the furry lifestyle work outside of conventions then?
A lot of my local friends are in the community. Much like Star Trek fans or science fiction fans, you kind of localize around people that are interested in the same things you are. That tends to occur a lot. A lot of my local friends are in the [furry] community. It tends to be a connecting draw for me.
Do you have a fursuit for your cat fursona?
I do not. I have a couple of friends who do a lot of costuming. I'm less involved in the costuming group; it's kind of a sub-group within furry in the sense that Klingons are a sub-group in the Star Trek fandom. It's really the same thing. They're part of our community as whole, but it's a small percentage of people in the fandom who are seriously costumers and have their own costumes.
If you're not costuming, how else do you identify with furry? How do you live that?
I really enjoy the artwork. I'm also a writer. I write a lot of fiction specific to the fandom -- that's one way I connect to it. It's a lot of slice-of-life fiction and science fiction. The biggest, defining factor is that the characters are anthropomorphic, and they're set in fictional worlds where the characters are animal people essentially. You see it in mainstream science fiction, but it's a lot more prevalent in the furry fandom.
Do you have a particular protagonist that you write about a lot?
I'm mostly writing short stories right now, so I switch genres and topics and characters pretty regularly. I like to explore the slice-of-life stories and stories focusing on interpersonal relationships and social mores and that kind of stuff -- people's interactions within society. I've been an off-and-on writer for the last ten years, but I've been more seriously [writing] for the last couple of years.
What led you to writing?
I'd always had an interest in it. I've always been a creative writer and it kind of seemed like the right time. I mostly write for fun. A couple of my pieces have been published in fandom-specific publications. There's a charity publication that's coming out at a convention in Seattle that I have a story in. I have a couple of other publications that my stories have been published in.
How did you get involved in the Rocky Mountain Fur Con?
That was kind of accidental, too. There were some people that were trying to organize a convention with a meeting, and I ended up going. It started with a group of five people talking about putting together a convention in Colorado, and I started out as just staff on the organizational committee. Over the years, I've worked my way to running the event.
What's been the most exciting part about your work with the Fur Con then?
Seeing the convention grow and seeing how excited people are for the event. It's a pretty thankless job, volunteering all the hours, but it's definitely all worth it when you see how happy and excited people are during the convention when people are there enjoying themselves.