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Japanese Waving Cat

Updated on October 11, 2012

For some time now I have noticed a local doughnut shop has a gold cat that sits on the counter behind the register whose paw goes up and down in a waving motion. I wondered what the significance was. I knew there must be a story behind it. Indeed there is.

The Waving Cat, also known as the Maneki Neko, which means “beckoning cat” goes by several names. It is sometimes called the Money Cat, the Lucky Cat, or the Fortune Cat. Is a common Japanese item that is believed to bring good luck and fortune to the owner. Some say that a raised left paw attracts money, while a raised right paw protects it. Some believe the left paw attracts customers, while the right paw brings good luck. I believe theirs displays the right paw which makes sense that it is positioned near the cash register.

To those of us in the U.S. it appears that the cat is waving. However, this gesture is a beckoning gesture in Eastern cultures.

Gold Japanese Beckoning Cat (Maneki Neko)-(Photo Credit-Wikimedia Commons)
Gold Japanese Beckoning Cat (Maneki Neko)-(Photo Credit-Wikimedia Commons)

The Origin of the Maneki Neko

The exact origin of the Maneki Neko is uncertain but it can be traced back at least to the mid to late 1800s. Some believe a cat is a lucky creature. Various people will give various stories about the legend of this cat. Each story is quite elaborate and different than than the others. If you'd like to read some of theories of it's origin, some of them can be found on Wikipedia.

The Maneki Neko is popping up in more and more places these days. Microsoft Windows 7 has even introduced a Maneki Neko as one of their user icons.

Sample of a Ceramic Maneki Neko Japanese Waving Cat

Example of the Battery-Operated Cat

Add the Maneki Neko to Your Collection for Good Luck

The Maneki Neko would make a great gift or to collect yourself. It certainly can't hurt to have a symbol of good luck and prosperity adorning your home or place of business!

Maneki Neko-Japanese Waving or Beckoning Cat  (Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Maneki Neko-Japanese Waving or Beckoning Cat (Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

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    • pylos26 profile image

      pylos26 

      7 years ago from America

      Cool!

    • KCC Big Country profile imageAUTHOR

      KRC 

      7 years ago from Central Texas

      Thanks, Pylos! I happened to go by the doughnut shop this morning and they now have two of these cats and both are left hand wavers. :)

    • pylos26 profile image

      pylos26 

      7 years ago from America

      KCC...I had fun reading yor waving cat story...great little read.

    • KCC Big Country profile imageAUTHOR

      KRC 

      7 years ago from Central Texas

      Thanks for stopping by Austinstar, davidrio, Nat and Reflecting Pool!

    • Reflecting Pool profile image

      Reflecting Pool 

      7 years ago from The other side of the coop

      These are common around here with our large Asian population. I didn't know the full meaning of the paws, tho.. thank you K!

    • Nat Amaral profile image

      Nat Amaral 

      7 years ago from BC Canada

      Very sweet. I especially love the pictures. I love cats period.

    • davidrio profile image

      David 

      7 years ago from Lisbon

      "Some say that a raised left paw attracts money, while a raised right paw protects it"- If only Lehman Brothers executives knew about this cat:)

    • Austinstar profile image

      Lela 

      7 years ago from Somewhere near the center of Texas

      I thought they were Chinese. But I did know they were for good luck, so I guess it doesn't matter. Maybe they're both!

    • KCC Big Country profile imageAUTHOR

      KRC 

      7 years ago from Central Texas

      Thanks Kim! Aren't they cute? Bringing luck is a bonus!

    • Kim Lynn profile image

      Kim Lynn 

      7 years ago

      Love the Maneki Neko.

      Thanks!

      Kim

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