A few random thoughts on the recent discussion:
1. I think people may be conflating otherkin with furries somewhat. There's a bit of crossover, but these are ultimately separate categories.
2. People who hold beliefs in totem animals have existed throughout history. I say 'belief' in a somewhat nuanced sense, as this can form the basis of a particular type of naturalistic spirituality (though I dislike using the term 'spirituality,' because I think it rather vapid in the contemporary sense). There has also been belief in and formative mythos involving shapeshifters---either humans assuming animal form or animals assuming human form---throughout history. In a broader sense, the idea of ego dissolution and "becoming other" has been a theme running throughout many cultures: the idea that one loses one's self and reverts to a more primal state, has a more direct connection with nature. It even expresses itself in the language of everyday in subtle ways with regard to libido (ie. "being an animal in bed") and thanatos ("the killer was an animal").
3. Many furries don't seem to push their self-identification with a fursona into the realm of otherkin belief. Many furries don't don fursuits, nor attend conventions. In some cases furries may be "closeted," not openly expressing it to those around them, or in other cases they may just not be into dressing up or interacting with other furries in a social context. I've talked to furries for whom the fascination is not erotic, and I've talked to those for whom it is. In the case of the latter, they aren't necessarily into fursuiting or dressing up in any form either. Or even roleplaying. I've talked to furries who clearly know they're human, but wish they were their "idealized" self, ie. their fursona; in this case, I don't see it as being that distinct from any other type of general dismorphia. In such cases, some may dress up as a means of temporary wish fulfillment, while others may never dress up and harbor a sense of melancholia. There are also those who simply like having another version of themselves, either as a means of self-expression or a means of creative expression or both, and these individuals don't necessarily dress up in costume either,
4. And then there are still others who themselves don't have a fursona---don't identify with or wish to be something other---who are attracted to the idea of furries and aroused by the artwork.
So in my experience, the "furry" subculture is in fact comprised of a plethora of motivations, perspectives, and approaches, and it's hard to know where the "culture" part begins and ends. Those who fursuit and / or those who are stimulated erotically by the concept (not all fursuitors find it erotic, and not all people who find it erotic dress up) are only a portion of that overall diversity, and it's honestly difficult to say anything substantive about the proportion.
Popular television as a medium is going to distort the reality of whatever subculture they're trying to report on, because the underlying motivation is sensationalism, and when you're talking about a phenomena which is largely informed by Internet culture in general, the network execs aren't going to likely "get it."