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And Meow, A New Kitty Introduction: The Salty Licorice Cat
May 15, 2024

Cat lovers, take note: there is a new kitten in town! Man’s Second Best Friend has changed clothes. The Salty Licorice Cat wears a gorgeous coat that is in line with current fashion trends. These kittens have ombre, or gradient, colored fur that is black at the roots and white at the tips. Continue reading to learn more about this lovely kitten from a local Oradell, NJ veterinarian.

Where Is the Salty Licorice Cat From?

Fluffy is from Petäjävesi, a village in Finland. The town is located in a lovely environment famed for its lakes, farmlands, and an 18th-century wood-log church. Or maybe we should say it was once known for such things. Going forward, they may have to include the Salty Licorice cat on its list of local legends, attractions, and unusual residents, as these cute kitties—also known as Salmiak cats—are descended from stray and feral cats in the surrounding area.

What Does the Salty Licorice Cat Look Like?

The term salmiak cat translates to salty licorice cat, likely because the colors look like salty licorice, which is a popular Finnish treat. Fluffy resembles a tuxedo cat, except that the dark areas of her coat are flecked with white. While Salmiak cats’ darker fur is frequently black, the kitties can sport the distinctive pattern on blue, brown, or tortoiseshell coats.

Their tails are usually white or partially white. Fluffy’s eyes are typically a beautiful green or yellow tint.

Is The Salty Licorice Cat A New Breed?

Fluffy has not yet been officially named a new breed. The name accurately characterizes her coat color. This also applies to many other cats, including tabbies and tuxies.

How long have Salty Licorice Cats been around?

We don’t know when the first Salty kitten arrived. Fluffy originally started getting attention in 2007, when people discovered that some of Petäjävesi’s kitties were highly fashion-forward.

Who Discovered the Salty Licorice Cat?

The formal research is credited to Hannes Lohi, a geneticist at the University of Helsinki. He oversaw the research, which was conducted by geneticists and animal welfare campaigners.

Which Gene Is Responsible for Salty Licorice Coat Colors?

Lohi’s team conducted tests on five Salty Licorice cats. They discovered a few intriguing facts about the color scheme. First, none of the cats possessed the precise gene mutations that are normally responsible for white fur. (Note: These changes are also strongly related to deafness, which explains why many white dogs have hearing loss.)

In an attempt to identify the underlying genetic cause, the scientists sequenced the entire genomes of two of the cats. They discovered a unique mutation, which affects a specific gene known as the KIT gene, which is also accountable for the formation of piebald patterns in horses and other animals. The team subsequently expanded the study, evaluating the five Salmiak cats as well as 178 others who wore normal jackets. All of the Salmiak kittens carried two copies of the gene variation known as w-sal, or salmiak. Several of the other furballs had one copy. Because the gene is recessive, none of the carriers could wear the Salmiak hues and patterns. The team’s findings were published in May in the journal Animal Genetics.

Another interesting note: At first, no one knew if the kitties would be able to breed because all of the stray cats with that unusual coloration had been fixed. The mystery has now been addressed, as the cats were seen giving birth to some extremely adorable kittens.

Why is Fluffy known as the Salty Licorice Cat?

The cats are called after a popular Finnish sweet. As you might expect, it’s made of licorice dusted with salmiak salt. The treat, sometimes known as salmiak liquorice or salmiac licorice, is also widely popular in Scandinavia, the Benelux region, and northern Germany. These little black candies first gained popularity in the 1800s. Danish candymakers Galle and Jessen are credited with creating and launching what has undoubtedly become a long-lasting food phenomenon. Curling up with a purring cat and a dish of chocolates on a snowy night seems quite comfortable!

Is Licorice Safe for Cats?

We would probably not recommend licorice as a treat. However, it poses no threat to our feline friends, at least as far as toxicity goes. A kitty could possibly choke on a large piece. In fact, research indicates that it has anti-inflammatory qualities and may even benefit cats with respiratory problems. However, there is more research needed. You should never give your pet any herb or prescription unless specifically instructed to do so by your veterinarian.

Putting that aside, some cats appear to enjoy the flavor of licorice. Fluffy is more likely drawn to the texture or aroma, though. Cats possess a DNA abnormality that prevents them from tasting sweets. Of course, some of these tiny furballs appeared to have missed the notice, as it is not uncommon for kitties to adore foods like cake, cookies, and donuts. Fluffy most likely prefers the fat content. While it may be fun to share a donut with your pet, it is best to avoid giving your cat any sweet foods. Not only are they heavy in sugar, but many include xylitol, often known as birch sugar, which is hazardous to cats.

What Are the Ingredients in Salty Licorice?

You may find a variety of recipes online. These are essentially minor variations on the same basic recipe.

A common version would include the following ingredients:

  • 8 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup dark corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
  • 1/8 tsp kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp black food coloring
  • 1 1/2 tbsp anise essence

In a saucepan, combine butter, sugar, milk, molasses, and salt. Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat and add the remaining ingredients. (If you want to make a healthier version, substitute heavy cream for condensed milk and brown rice syrup for dark corn syrup.) Pour onto a pan lined with parchment paper and let cool. After 30-45 minutes, remove and shape it. Remember to sprinkle it with salt! Let it cool for about another hour.

If you’re going to make one of these goodies, you might as well go the additional mile and get a mold to make it kitty-shaped. In fact, several candy businesses already do this!

Are Salty Licorice Cats Expensive?

Right now, it’s difficult to say. The cats are still very rare. However, while they are cute, as animal lovers, we must raise awareness about the drawbacks of the designer breed trend. There are lots of cute, friendly cats in shelters who are ready to find new homes! We always encourage individuals to adopt instead of shop. Our feline companions make excellent pets, regardless of the colors they wear!

Book An Appointment At Your Oradell, NJ Pet Clinic

Does your feline companion require an examination, vaccines, or parasite control? Has it been a while since your cat came in? Please feel free to contact us, your local Oradell, NJ pet hospital, also serving Emerson, Bergen County, NJ and surrounding areas, for all of your cat’s veterinarian care requirements. We’re here to help.