Categories: brushes

LICKI Brush raises the question as to whether domestic cats see us as cats or another species

A couple have raised enough money online with Kickstarter to put into production a device that they have invented which allows a person to simulate a cat licking another cat (allogrooming). The device is called LICKI Brush. To describe it rather crudely it is a large, artificial plastic cat tongue 😉

It looks gross and cat haters are going to have a field day taking the micky out of it (message to Woody – don’t bother commenting).

The picture shows it in action:

LICKI brush

Mutual grooming between cats is a sign of friendship. The inventors, Tara and Jason believe that cats see us as cats. I tend to agree but it does depend on the circumstances and the kind of relationship we have with our cat companion.

I believe domestic cats do not see us (i.e. visually) as cats because we are clearly different anatomically but instinctively relate to us a cats if our relationship is strong. What I suggest is a sort of half-way house mentally. But cats live their lives largely instinctively so their relationship with us is largely one of cat-to-cat. However, this is speculating.

The LICKI Brush’s success is based upon cats relating to us as cats.

Dr. Andrew O’Shea of Sydney Animal Behaviour Service does not believe cats see us as cats. He believes that humans cannot replicate the actions of a cat sufficiently well for a cat to accept those actions as those of a cat.

He said:

“Cats do not see humans as big cats, they see them as a different species and communicate with them in a different way.”

In one way he is correct. Domestic cats in general only meow to humans. It appears to be a vocalisation developed for humans.

However, as stated, if the human-cat relationship is strong, the cat will instinctively interact with us as if we are a cat.

This should mean that this device works in helping to generate a closer bond between caretaker and cat companion.



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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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  • Michael,I truly believe my cats see me as *Mom Cat*. They do *talk* to me quite often, and do respond to me telling them *I love you*. I have always rubbed their faces with my chin as if I am attempting to groom them, and have bonded very well with my *kids*. I rub my face over them and give them kisses. I get head butts and kitty kisses back most of the time. Some just enjoy the attention and affection, but don't kiss and head butt in return. This device would most likely work for me! ♥♥♥

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