(CNN) — The Republican Senate nominee in New Hampshire shared at a Thursday event the hoax claim that children are being told they can identify as anthropomorphic cats and use litter boxes in schools.
Don Bolduc, a retired Army brigadier general who is challenging Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan, made the comments while speaking to supporters in North Hampton, according to audio obtained by CNN’s KFile from an attendee. The claim, which has occasionally been cited by some Republican politicians, has been repeatedly debunked.
“Guess what? We have furries and fuzzies in classrooms,” Bolduc told the crowd. “They lick themselves, they’re cats. When they don’t like something, they hiss — people walk down the hallway and jump out,” he said, as a hissing sound could be heard.
“And get this, get this,” he continued. “They’re putting litter boxes, right? Litter boxes for that. … These are the same people that are concerned about spreading germs. Yet they let children lick themselves and then touch everything. And they’re starting to lick each other.”
“I wish I was making it up,” concluded Bolduc. “I honestly wish it was a ‘Saturday Night Live’ skit.”
Bolduc made similar comments on a radio show earlier Thursday. His campaign did not respond to requests for comment.
Inside Elections rates Bolduc’s race against Hassan as Tilt Democratic.
Furries are a subculture that sometimes involves people dressing up as anthropomorphic animal characters and attending conventions. The unfounded internet rumor has been repeatedly denied by various school officials who have had to continuously dispute the false claims.
A handful of Republican officials across the country have continued to cite the false claims about children identifying as cats or using litter boxes in schools, including gubernatorial nominees Scott Jensen of Minnesota and Heidi Ganahl of Colorado recently.
The claim reportedly originated from a community member at a local school board meeting last year and has since spread across the internet. It has been repeatedly shot down by fact-checkers from major news outlets as false. The bizarre conspiracy has spread so much that it even has its own dedicated Wikipedia page.