The article I read on the CBC has both of the following quotes:
Hello Kitty is not a cat. She's a cartoon character. She is a little girl. She is a friend. But she is not a cat. She's never depicted on all fours.
It's going too far to say that Hello Kitty is not a cat.
The proper headline would be, "Creator of Hello Kitty believes that people think Hello Kitty is a literal cat - an actual living mammal in the real world - and feels the need to correct this."
Got another one: "Creator of Hello Kitty assumed anyone interested in whether Hello Kitty was a cat must be two years old. Wanted to be clear about distinction between reality and fiction."
But more likely: "People baffled by language and cultural mix-up"