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:
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.
“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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