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Dogwood Animal Hospital

2050 Sugarloaf Parkway
Lawrenceville, Georgia 30045

Spotlight On The Salty Licorice Cat

May 15 2024

Attention, feline fans: Meet the new cat in town! The Salty Licorice Cat wears a stunning coat that is in keeping with current fashion trends. Also referred to as salmiak cats, which means salty licorice cats, these adorable kitties have ombre, or gradient, colored fur, with a lot of black at the roots and white at the ends. Continue reading to hear more about this adorable kitten from a local Lawrenceville, GA veterinarian.

Why Is Fluffy Referred To As The Salty Licorice Cat?

The cats were named after a popular Finnish delicacy. It is, as expected, made of licorice coated with salmiak salt. The treat, sometimes referred to as salmiak liquorice or salmiac licorice, is beloved in Scandinavia, the Benelux region, and northern Germany.

What Do Salty Licorice Cats Look Like?

Fluffy looks like a tuxedo cat, except that the dark portions of her coat are flecked with white. While Salmiak cats’ darker fur is often black, Fluffy’s cats can wear blue, brown, or tortoiseshell coats under the unusual pattern. These kitties’ tails are typically white, or partially white. Fluffy’s eyes are usually a gorgeous green or yellow tint.

Where Did the Salty Licorice Cat Come From?

Fluffy is from the Finnish village of Petäjävesi. The town sits in a picturesque location, famous for its lakes, farms, and a wood-log church from the 18th century—or perhaps we should say that it was famous for such things in the past. The Salty Licorice cat will now have to be included on the town’s list of famous locals, must-see attractions, and fascinating inhabitants, as Salmiak cats are descended from the area’s local stray and wild cats.

When Was The First Salty Licorice Kitten Born?

We don’t know who discovered or adopted the Salty Licorice Cat. In 2007, When people discovered that several of Petajavesi’s cats had very avant-garde fashion sense, Fluffy started to gain notoriety.

At first, no one knew if the kitties were going to be able to reproduce because all of the feral felines with that unusual color had been fixed. The mystery has been solved, as one was seen giving birth to some really cute kittens.

Who Identified The Salty Licorice Cat?

Hannes Lohi, a geneticist at the University of Helsinki, is credited with initiating the official research, which was carried out by geneticists and animal rights activists.

Lohi’s team examined five Salty Licorice cats. They determined that none of the cats carried the specific gene alterations that are generally responsible for white fur. These alterations are also closely linked to deafness, which explains why so many white dogs have hearing loss. They then sequenced the cats’ whole genomes and detected a unique mutation. The mutation affects a gene called KIT. This specific gene is also responsible for piebald patterns in horses and other animals. The scientists then enlarged the study to include not just the five Salmiak cats, but also 178 others with normal coats. All Salmiak kittens had two copies of the relevant gene variant, which is now known as w-sal, or salmiak. Several other felines had a duplicate. Because the gene is recessive, none of the carriers were able to wear Salmiak colors and patterns.

The findings were published in May in the journal Animal Genetics.

Is The Salty Licorice Cat A New Breed Of Cat?

Fluffy has yet to be designated as a new breed. The name refers to her coat color. This also applies to many other  cats, like tabbies and tuxedos.

Is Licorice Safe For Cats?

Licorice is not a treat we would recommend. However, it poses no danger to our feline buddies. In fact, research suggests that it has anti-inflammatory properties and may benefit cats with respiratory issues. However, further research is required. In any case, never give your pet any herb or prescription unless your veterinarian specifically instructs you to do so.

Putting that aside, some cats seem to prefer the flavor of licorice. However, Fluffy is more likely lured to the texture or aroma. Cats have a DNA defect that stops them from tasting sweets. Of course, several of these tiny furballs seemed to have missed the memo, as kitties have been observed to enjoy things such as cake, cookies, and donuts. Fluffy probably prefers the fat content. Maybe it would be fun to share a donut with your cat, but it’s best not to give your cat any sweet foods. Not only are they high in sugar, but many include xylitol, often known as birch sugar, which is harmful to cats.

What Is The History Of Salted Licorice?

These small black candies first became popular in the 1800s. Danish candymakers Galle and Jessen have been credited with inventing and initiating what has unquestionably become a long-lasting food trend. You have to admit: settling in on a snowy night, curling up with a purring cat and a dish of sweets sounds quite cozy!

There are many different recipes available online. These are simply small variants on the same fundamental idea.

A typical version would have the following ingredients:

In a saucepan, combine 8 tablespoons of unsalted butter, 1 cup sugar, 1 half cup sweetened condensed milk, 1 quarter cup blackstrap molasses, and 1 eighth teaspoon kosher salt. Bring to a boil. Then remove from heat and add one half cup of dark corn syrup, three-quarters cup whole wheat flour, one and a half tablespoons anise essence, and a half teaspoons black food dye. To make a healthier version, swap out heavy cream for condensed milk and brown rice syrup for dark corn syrup. Pour onto a parchment-lined pan, allow to cool for 30-45 minutes, then remove and shape. Remember to sprinkle it with salt!

If you want to make these treats, you should go the extra mile and acquire a mold to make them kitty-shaped. In fact, several candy companies already do this!

Are Salty Licorice Cats Expensive?

It’s hard to say right now. These beautiful kitties are still very uncommon. However, while they are adorable, as animal lovers, we are unofficially required to raise awareness about the drawbacks of the designer breed craze. The saying ‘Adopt, don’t shop’ definitely applies here. There are many sweet, friendly felines in shelters just waiting for a home! Whatever color they wear, our feline pals are terrific pets!

Schedule an Appointment at Your Lawrenceville, GA Pet Clinic

Does your feline pet require a check-up, vaccinations, or parasite control? Has it been a while since your cat came inside? Please contact us, your local Lawrenceville, GA pet hospital, for all of your cat’s veterinary care needs. We’re here to help.

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