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On MUCKs, IRC and in other roleplay environments, some people maintain multiple characters-- often without acknowledging any connection between them, even when multiple characters owned by one person interact with a single friend. These alternate characters are termed "alts," an abreviation of "alternates" or "alternate character."

While alts are not limited to furries (they are also used in other fandoms' roleplay), neither is their use limited strictly to roleplay. Many furries have alts that represent different facets of their own personalities or different periods of their lives. In this way, multiple alts or past alts may be called a type of mental partitioning.

Life Stage Alt[edit]

Some furries grow out of alts or transition into new alts when they reach a new stage in their life. While they may use those alts from previous stages in life with people they met during that time, for the most part those who use this alt process will tend to retain the current life stage alt until such time they feel it's time to move on. A life stage alt may be used as a coping mechanism to put past experiences behind and start anew.

Alt By Association[edit]

Some furries will represent themselves as a particular species or character to people they met at a particular time in their lives because that was the alt they used when they met that friend and as such that alt is an aperture to the person behind the alt.

Interest Separation Alt[edit]

For some people, a particular character represents a facet of their interest in others. For example, a person may have one alt that they use when they are interested in a particular fetish and another they use for casual roleplaying. In this way the person behind the alts is able to partition their interactions and keep separate the mental modes associated with those characters.

An alt used for separation of interests may also be used as an escape mechanism to allow a person who is aligned with a set of beliefs or system of religion to participate in roleplay activities that may be thought of as forbidden within the rationale of such a system.

Sectarian Alt[edit]

A sectarian alt is a alt maintained by an individual so that they may be considered 'in' with a particular group of furries who identify as a group and may hold different practices or beliefs from other furries. Also, some sectarian alts are created in order to maintain relationships with others who have alts or fursonas involved with such groups. Some examples include skiltaire, silkie, otherkin and were. While these groups are not composed entirely of alts (some people have those species or groups as their primary alts), sectarian alts tend to have a high burnout factor with their owners abandoning them after the newness of being involved with the related group wears off.

Stalker Alt[edit]

A stalker alt is created for the purpose of stalking or observing one or more people. A stalker alt may be created by someone who made a bad first impression with someone so that they can have another chance at introducing themselves and making a better impression. Stalker alts are also used for intelligence gathering. The alt will be sent into a social setting to see who is there without tipping off the group that the primary character is online. On mucks, IRC and other social contexts some users move stalker alts from room to room to see who is there in order to bypass the ability of characters to opt out of commands that allow one to see where they are, such as the "whereare" command on mucks or the "who" command on IRC. Once the stalker identifies the person or persons they are looking for they will deploy other alts to the respective rooms where those people are to interact with them.