Cat lovers didn’t need science to tell them that purring has a therapeutic effect, but it did. Our feline friends can also be helpful when it comes to dealing with stress, coping with loss, improving heart health, and getting a good night’s sleep. Considering all the benefits of being a cat parent, it seems only natural that we’d want to return the favor. For many, that might mean an extra toy, treat, or chin rub. For two budding entrepreneurs—and the more than 1100 backers who share their vision—it means covering your kitty in soft silicone licks.
Portland, Oregon-based couple Jason and Tara O’Meara are self-described “cat entertainment enthusiasts,” and the innovative minds behind the LICKI Brush, a silicone device that allows cat lovers to, yes, lick their feline companions.
While the LICKI Brush isn’t a reality yet—it’s less than two weeks into a Kickstarter campaign—as of this writing, the O’Mearas have already managed to raise nearly 85 percent of their $36,500 goal. And they’ve still got 25 days left to go, so success in the crowdfunding realm seems inevitable. (In 2014, they raised more than $170,000 via Kickstarter for SHRU, a smart toy for cats.)
It probably doesn’t hurt that the product received some major airtime on LIVE with Kelly. And while it’s the sheer oddness of the LICKI Brush that has gotten so much attention, its creators believe in its ability to forge a stronger bond between cat owners and their pets.
“Cats groom each other as a form of social bonding,” according to the Kickstarter page. “There's also evidence to suggest that cats view and treat their human captors as large cats. As a human, you're left out of the intimate licking ritual. At best, you have a one-sided licking relationship with your cat. We have designed LICKI brush to bring you and your cat closer. By using LICKI with your cat on a regular basis, you'll develop a more intimate and bonded relationship, much like a mama cat bonds with her young.”
Plus: no hairballs!