Kawaii icon Hello Kitty celebrated her 40th anniversary on November 1. Created in 1974 and making her merchandising debut on a coin purse the next year, retail sales of Hello Kitty T-shirts, purses, stickers, backpacks and other paraphernalia have now grown to rake in USD$8 billion in 2013 alone.

While Kitty fans young and old have long been familiar with her registered height of five apples, many were shocked in August when fact-checking in preparation for the anniversary revealed that creator Sanrio considers Kitty not to be a cat, but the cartoon representation of a cheerful little girl born in a London suburb, who just happens to have strong feline features.

The anniversary (not officially a “birthday,”  just as Kitty is not officially a “cat”) was celebrated at Hello Kitty Con in Los Angeles’  Museum of Contemporary Art on Saturday, with even Katy Perry showing up to receive a Hello Kitty tattoo on her finger.

Via AFP and CNN