Portland-based couple Jason and Tara O’Mara wanted to show their cats how much they loved them – in the cats’ own language. In 2016, the two put their engineering and tech backgrounds to work to develop a product that would help them do just that, through licking. The Licki is an oversized silicone tongue fitted with a series of soft, massaging tips that mimic the feline tongue.
This device, when held in the mouth of the human counterpart, can be gently rubbed on a cat’s fur to engage in a whole new kind of bonding-meets-grooming situation. In their Kickstarter video, the creators explain that kitties develop stronger relationships by grooming one another – why should human Mama and Papa miss out on the opportunity? Licki gives humans such an opportunity, and all for just about $20.
Sound wacky? Some have thought so. The O’Mara invention has been featured previously on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and Live With Kelly, and was received with some hilarity by both hosts and audience members. Still, the Kickstarter campaign that launched in 2016 to help bring the prototype to life gained an incredible 2,022 backers who together pledged over $52K to the project. Wow! There are cat lovers everywhere who have embraced the usual invention, and if you’ve ever wanted to lick your kitty, you can now join the crowd with the Licki.
Jason and Tara O’Mara have had previous success through their Kickstarter campaign for the SHRU, an intelligent cat companion that’s more than just a cat toy. This little oblong device looks like an egg with a selection of different tails. It is completely human-free, and turns on and off throughout the day by reacting to a cat’s play with it.
The SHRU mimics the movements of a real-life small animal, making those cat-and-mouse games a fun virtual reality for any cat when the master’s away. The battery lasts for days, and is rechargeable with an included USB. You’d be hard-pressed to find another cat toy that brings out the inner hunter in your cat better than the SHRU, and cat owners around the country joined forces to make this product a reality. The Kickstarter campaign for the SHRU proved to be a big success, with pledges reaching $170K.
UPDATE: PDX Pet Design is no longer in business.