In his book The Animal That I am, Derrida issues a critique of the usage of the term ‘animal.’ Pointing toward the Heideggerian treatment of the animal as worldless, Derrida posits that the concept has been used in a reductive and anthropocentric manner. Taking this line of thought as a cue, in this essay I question whether phenomenology can (i) negotiate with the concept of animality without reducing it to an inhuman humanity, or, (ii) glorifying it as a form of fluid kinship, in which the animal somehow serves as a guide for being human. Both of these modes instrumentalise the animal for the sake of developing an epistemic or ethical value critical to human identity. In response to this question, I turn to Merleau-Ponty’s treatment of the concept of animality. In particular, I plot the evolution of the concept from its inception in The Structure of Behaviour to its radical revision through the concept of ‘flesh.’ As I argue, what Merleau-Ponty’s philosophy presents us with is neither a glorification of the animal as a figure of moral redemption nor an alien existence that is sealed off from human existence; instead, we are presented with a kinship that is strange on both a conceptual and affective level, and which ultimately registers a limit for phenomenological thought.