Always Wanted to Lick Your Cat? Now You Can


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!

Watch Koko the Gorilla Meet Her New Pet Kittens

Koko the gorilla passed away at the age of 46 this week. Though she was best known for her use of sign language, her love of cats is what made her a media darling.

In 1983, the western lowland gorilla reportedly told trainer Penny Patterson that she wanted a cat. Patterson and her fellow researchers at The Gorilla Foundation supported this idea, hoping that caring for a cat might prepare Koko for motherhood.

They gave Koko a lifelike stuffed animal and after she ignored that gift, she was given a gray kitten for her birthday in July 1984. Koko rejoiced. She named the cat All Ball and carried him around like a baby. All Ball got out of Koko's cage and was hit by a car just a few months later. Trainer Penny Patterson shared the news with Koko, who, Patterson said, began crying. “Sleep cat,” she reportedly signed.

For Koko's 44th birthday in 2015, Patterson let her pick out two new pets from a litter of kittens. The result was as cute as you might expect.

For more Koko videos, follow kokoflix on Youtube.

New Health-Monitoring Litter Box Could Save You a Trip to the Vet

Unsure if your cat is sick or just acting aloof per usual? A “smart toilet” for your fur baby could help you decide whether a trip to the vet is really necessary.

Enter the Pet Care Monitor: More than a litter box, the receptacle is designed to analyze cat urine for health issues, The Asahi Shimbun in Tokyo reports. Created by the Japan-based Sharp Corporation—better known for consumer electronics such as TVs, mobile phones, and the world's first LCD calculator—the product will be available for purchase on the company’s website starting July 30 (although shipping limitations may apply).

Sensors embedded in the monitor can measure your cat’s weight and urine volume, as well as the frequency and duration of toilet trips. That information is then analyzed by an AI program that compares it to data gleaned from a joint study between Sharp Corp and Tottori University in Japan. If there are any red flags, a report will be sent directly to your smartphone via an application called Cocoro Pet. The monitor could be especially useful for keeping an eye on cats with a history of kidney and urinary tract problems.

If you have several cats, the company offers sensors to identify each pet, allowing separate data sets to be collected and analyzed. (Each smart litter box can record the data of up to three cats.)

The Pet Care Monitor costs about $225, and there’s an additional monthly fee of roughly $3 for the service. Sharp Corporation says it will continue developing health products for pets, and it has already created a leg sensor that can tell if a dog is nervous by measuring its heart and respiratory rates.

[h/t The Asahi Shimbun]


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