〜そう form means "seemingly 〜" and is usually conjecture made based on first-hand information. This usually means seeing something or hearing about something and making a conjecture, e.g.,
おいしそう when seeing the food. (Presumably, first-hand information would extend to ESP, psychic visions, etc., if you believe in that.)
Now, it's hard to imagine that this would ever apply to
かわいい based on visual first-hand information; since you're actually seeing the thing, there's no guessing about whether or not it's cute. However, it would be possible to make a "seemingly cute" conjecture if the first-hand information was hearing a description of something. For example, maybe your friend is describing their new puppy to you. Upon hearing the description you might respond that it seems cute.
By the rules,
かわいい (sometimes written
可愛い) would then become
かわいそう【可愛そう】. Unfortunately, this coincides with
かわいそう【可哀相】 meaning "pathetic; pitiful; sad".
- Is the "seemingly cute"
かわいそうeven used practically in the way I mentioned (or some other way)?
- If so, is context enough to distinguish which of the two words it's actually supposed to be? Or should you just avoid it altogether? Because I can think of a context where it would still be ambiguous.
"My new puppy is small, and fluffy, and likes to play ball. But a cat attacked him the other day".
"かわいそう" → (Is it "Seems cute" or "Poor thing"???)