Some people will do almost anything to satisfying their pet, from letting dogs sleep on half of the bed to cleaning litter boxes without complaint. A new Kickstarter campaign hopes to capitalize on this devotion with Licki: a device that lets humans bond with their feline friends by ‘licking’ them — without having to worry about hairballs.
The device is essentially a giant, tongue-like, silicone brush, which users hold in their mouth to groom their cat. Your cat may be reasonably wary of the device –and the person wielding it– so Portland’s PDX Pet Design recommends people approach with caution when they first attempt to lick their feline. It may look silly and might freak your cat out at first, but owners can eventually “ease into the soothing and mutually beneficial licking behavior of cats,” according to the company.
Cats love to lick themselves, but social grooming helps develop bonds between individuals in species. Horses, birds, and monkeys do it. Even humans engage in the practice at barber shops and beauty salons. Sadly, though, interspecies grooming tends to be more of a functional then a social act.
“Grooming is a central part of a cat’s day,” Licki’s creator, Jason O’Mara told Digital Trends. “We’ve watched our cats groom each other for years as a form of social bonding and we always felt like we couldn’t connect with our cats using their own ‘language’. LICKI Brush seemed like an obvious solution to this problem.
Since cats are notoriously difficult to please, Licki may be one of the simplest and most innovative means to win a feline’s favor. And, although it seems like a gimmick, O’Mara insists the device is even better than your conventional brush. “Many cats dislike being combed due to the abrasive nature of so many pet combs,” he said. “A little known fact: Cats have a very thin skin layer, which explains why they are so sensitive to touch. LICKI Brush will be made with a soft silicone rubber designed to feel pleasurable to your cat.”
Over 1,300 people have already pledged almost $35,000 to support the Licki campaign, which is set to ship products in January 2017. According to O’Mara, of the ten cats they’ve tested Licki on, eight “either immediately start nuzzling back or give it a few minutes before rolling over for additional licks.” But, if simulated licking isn’t your thing, PDX offers other products, such as the “intelligent”, mouse-like toy Shru, to stimulate your cats ever-fickle needs.