Some of the most famous cats include Grumpy Cat, Garfield, Tigger, Hello Kitty and now … Ikiru. With more than 64,000 Instagram followers and a Facebook page brimming with equally adorable pics, it’s no wonder that this super cute feline has taken social media by storm.
Ikiru happens to be an exotic shorthair. Part Persian and exotic, the exotic shorthair combines the beautiful look of a Persian but without the daily grooming demands. They are bred to meet the Persian standard in every way except for the thick, plush, short coat.
These adorable cats actually resemble a teddy bear. Their personality tends to be relaxed and easy-going. They’re also typically affectionate.
Rich and Emma of Yorkshire, England, stumbled across a photo of Ikiru on a cat breeder’s website and it was love at first sight. They were in awe of his unique look. Exotic shorthairs are known for their flat, round faces and big eyes.
They visited him in person and fell hard. They impatiently waited four weeks until Ikiru was ready and able to go home with them.
It didn’t take long before Ikiru began showing his silly, affectionate side. Rich and Emma couldn’t believe what they were seeing!
Ikiru is named for Rich’s favorite Akira Kurosawa film. “Ikiru” means “to live” or “living” in Japanese. Ikiru loves to let his tongue stick out and that causes him to make the funniest faces.
“He’s loving, affectionate, and grumpy in the best way. Ikiru is also playful and endlessly amusing. One particular quirk is he loves tunneling and hiding underneath things like blankets or sheets of paper, or staring at you upside down from the corner of a room.”
Referred to as a “blep,” Ikiru could care less that his tongue lolls out and lets his mom and dad take the best pics they share on social media where poeple just can’t get enough of him.
In fact, Ikiru is known as the king of blep!
Some of his faces and poses are so wacky that people often ask Rich and Emma if Ikiru is actually okay. They reassure everyone that the vet says Ikiru is perfectly healthy.
“Ikiru is really healthy and our vet told us he has some of the best teeth she has ever seen. Exotic shorthairs have a slightly pudgy face but he’s very energetic and in great shape.”
While it may seem like Ikiru spends all of his time with his tongue sticking out, he really doesn’t do it all of the time, his parents say. It’s a hoot to see!
He holds the title for blep, but doesn’t mlem, which is another pet lingo phrase for when a dog or cat licks his or her nose.
“Believe it or not, he doesn’t always have his tongue hanging out, but it seems to be a quirk of his, leading to some amusing facial expressions.”
But why does Ikiru do this? Cat consultant Amy Shojai believes a blep might be associated with the Flehmen response, which describes the act of a cat “smelling” their environment with their tongue.
As a cat breaths and pants with his or her mouth open, pheromones are collected and passed along to the vomeronasal organ on the roof of their mouth. This typically happens when cats want to learn more about other cats or captivating scents.
Ingrid Johnson, a certified cat behavior consultant through the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants and the owner of Fundamentally Feline, believes it’s an unconscious act.
“It’s likely they don’t feel it or even realize they’re doing it. One reason for that might be that they’re on medication that causes relaxation. Something for anxiety or stress or a muscle relaxer would do it.”
The couple constantly cracks up over Ikiru’s antics and facial expressions. They love it when others get a kick out their favorite kitty cat, too.
“We get messages from all around the world saying his silly faces, cuteness and personality brightens their day. He even inspires fan art, people have some fantastic illustrations which really capture his cheeky character.”
On his Instagram page, Rich and Emma share that their buddy loves fish, enjoys lying upside down and gets a kick out of getting into mischief.
In fact, he loves to run around the house and hide underneath things like sheets of paper, blankets and anything else he can find.
Scroll through Ikiru’s photos and let this goofy guy brighten your day! He’s so darn cute!
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