This Kickstarter begins with the question, “Have you ever wanted to lick your cat?” That alone should be enough to raise some major red flags, even before the copy adds, “Now you can. Without the furballs.” The Kickstarter is raising money for something called “Licki Brush,” which as far as we can tell is not an oddly belated April Fool’s Day joke, but an honest to God product. Or, at the very least, a campaign that has currently raised over $7,500 of its $36,500 goal. Licki Brush is a soft silicon brush that adult humans are supposed to hold in their mouths like a pacifier in order to—and again, we don’t think this is a joke—“develop a more intimate and bonded relationship, much like a mama cat bonds with her young.” Don’t worry, there’s a video:
The idea behind the Licki Brush is that cat grooming is a “form of social bonding” from which humans are left out. Or, as the page bemoans, “At best, you have a one-sided licking relationship with your cat.” (Apparently they never saw the “I Lick My Cat” episode of TLC’s My Strange Addiction.) So according to the Licki Brush instructions:
Gently grasp Licki’s bite portion with your teeth, slowly approach your cat when she is sleeping or in an otherwise pleasant mood, and ease into the soothing and mutually beneficial licking behavior of cats. Don’t be surprised if your cat licks you back.
Putting aside the fact that those instructions read like an erotic passage from a romance novel, we should also mention that the brush’s tagline is simply, “Lick your cat.” Here’s a GIF of one satisfied Licki Brush user and a cat who seems pretty indifferent about the whole thing.
Okay, so, yes, there’s something kind of relatable idea at the core of all this insanity, which is the desire to bond with a pet. And the Licki Brush is “designed to feel pleasurable to your cat’s sensitive skin,” which, again, checks out, despite the oddly sexual language. But we still have a lot of questions: Namely, why do you need to hold it in your mouth? Wouldn’t it be just as “pleasurable” for your cat if you held it in your hands? Are we supposed to believe cats are smart enough to notice this thing is coming out of your mouth but dumb enough to believe a piece of rubbery material is a tongue?
The Licki Kickstarter doesn’t go into that level of cat psychoanalysis, but it does repeatedly reassure potential backers that using Licki will help you bond with your cat. The page notes, “Licking your cat with Licki is an oddly meditative practice, soothing for both you and your cat.” Plus the page helpfully suggests that you can “invite your friends and their cats over for Licki parties.”
Perhaps to further facilitate said parties, the Kickstarter even has a “Crazy Cat-Person” donor level. If you pledge $124 or more you’ll be the lucky recipient of not one, not two, but 10 Licki Brushes. “What fun you will have!!!” notes the Kickstarter. So far three people have backed the project at this level.
Again, we have to stress that as far as we’re aware, this is not a joke. Creator Jason O’Mara previously launched a successful Kickstarter for an “intelligent cat toy,” which, we should point out, didn’t encourage human/cat co-dependency. The Licki Brush Kickstarter promises to ship products starting in January 2017. And during the past two days, over 300 human beings have expressed their desire to lick their cats by supporting the Licki Brush Kickstarter page. Those who also want to “be part of the Change in the cat-grooming landscape” can join them right here.