"You would not believe how many people tell me they've licked their cat," says Tara O'Mara.
As co-creator of one of the most bizarre and subtly sexual inventions since the Shake Weight, O'Mara has received everything from intense gratitude to death threats in response to the Licki Brush. Does it sound familiar? You've probably seen it on Jimmy Kimmel Live! or, God help you, Live With Kelly.
The brush is a tongue-shaped piece of soft silicone, held in the user's mouth, that's designed to feel pleasurable to your cat. Basically, it's a plastic tongue prosthesis for humans who want to return the favor by licking their cats, but without all that annoying cat hair in their mouths.
Admit it. It's what you've always secretly wanted to do.
It turns out that more than 2,000 backers agreed, and they pledged more than $52,000 to fund the project's Kickstarter.
"People are like, 'I'm so glad you came up with this product,'" O'Mara says. "It's awesome there's that category of people."
For the record, it looks like an egg vibrator. It also mimics a small animal's erratic movement and sound and is rechargeable by USB.
Living in a city that embraces offbeat ideas, O'Mara says, has been a crucial part of their success.
"We've lived here for 10 years, and it just becomes part of you," she says. "I don't think a lot of things would be in the world if it weren't for places like Portland."
While there's no hard research on the long-term effects of licking your cat, O'Mara says her relationship with her cat has changed: "My cat licks me all the time now."