THE BECKONING CAT (MANEKI-NEKO)

by janetblue on February 1, 2013

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe male human, Tom, has been traveling to Japan regularly since the late eighties. On many occasions he brought home a beckoning cat (maneki-neko) figurine. Some he received as gifts, and others he purchased for me. In time I fell in love with these little kitties and have amassed a small collection.

The maneki-neko is usually portrayed as a calico Japanese Bobtail with either one or both paws raised. The kitty is a symbol for good fortune/good luck. The opposite paw often holds a tag with the message, “Please come in. You are welcome.” This is why this little fellow is often seen in the front windows of businesses and restaurants.

Before Christmas, when we went to the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC, I found and purchased a beckoning cat Christmas ornament. And Tom found one on-line at Gump’s which he purchased for me as a gift.

This is a Guardian Maneki-neko.

In case you do not know the story of the maneki-neko, I’ll share a little bit with you.

In the 17th century a very poor priest lived in a rundown and poverty-stricken Tokyo temple. The priest shared what little food he had with his pet cat, Tama.

One day, an important, wealthy man was caught in a storm while hunting. He took refuge under a big tree near the temple. While waiting for the storm to pass, the man noticed a cat beckoning him to come inside the temple gate. This was so startling, the man left the shelter of the tree to get a closer look at the cat. In the next moment the tree was struck by lighting.

As a result of Tama saving him, the wealthy man became friends with the poor priest, and the temple became prosperous. The priest and his cat never went hungry again. This story and the cat displayed to the left came from the web-site www.actioncat.com. They gave permission to use their graphics as long as a link to a pet rescue site was included, so here’s my link: www.barncatbudddies.org in Hardy, VA. This is an organization I support and from which three of my kitties—Astrid, Lisbeth and Calista Josette—have been adopted.

For other legends regarding this cute kitty, you can check out Wikipedia.

 I hope you enjoy this photo of my collection.

maggie February 6, 2013 at 11:23 am

I’ve been fascinated by the Maneki Neko legend too! I illustrated a paper doll book – my own cats are the models for the dolls- called “Lucky Cats Paper Dolls” – http://www.amazon.com/Lucky-Cats-Paper-Dolls-Maneki/dp/0486486826/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1360167678&sr=8-5&keywords=luck+cats+paper

Thanks for visiting my Shelter- Cats blog.

Maggie

nadbugs February 3, 2013 at 9:17 pm

Wonderful post! And something probably completely unrelated jumped into mind — desert-dwelling Dogon people in Africa have icons with both hands raised — but this is meant to be a prayer for rain. Still. Hi-4 to you.

Dianda February 3, 2013 at 8:24 am

I love those Neko cats! I had one who’s paw actually moved. :)

Maxwell, Faraday & Allie February 2, 2013 at 7:03 pm

Mommy really likes the colors on the guardian kitty one too! What a cool story – one we didn’t know! Thanks for telling us!

Deb Barnes - Zee and February 2, 2013 at 11:12 am

What an extremely interesting story! I always enjoy learning the history of something, and this was fascinating! The ornament is adorable too…

Pam (and Sam) February 2, 2013 at 6:46 am

What a grand collection you have…..I’ve always loved the Maneki-neko cats – they are just so lovable looking. The story/legend is quite beautiful too……touches my heart!

Pam

Whisppy February 2, 2013 at 5:57 am

That’s a nice collection of Maneki-nekos! Mommy collects them too. ;)

Eric and Flynn February 1, 2013 at 7:26 pm

That is a lovely collection. We like the story of Maneki-Neko.

caren gittleman February 1, 2013 at 6:56 pm

love your lucky cat collection! I have a collection of them myself. I also reviewed the lucky cat book on Cat Chat, if you ever want to check it out, it is in the archives

janetblue February 1, 2013 at 7:06 pm

That’s how we came by many of our cats through the years including our first calico (not a Japanese Bobtail), and they were some of the very best kitties we ever had the pleasure of living with. Purrs and hugs!

janetblue February 1, 2013 at 7:08 pm

Caren, I will definitely check that out. Thanks. Purrs and hugs.

Brian February 1, 2013 at 6:50 pm

That is quite the collection and they are all so very cute!

Bernadette February 1, 2013 at 5:27 pm

Thanks for the story, and the photos of your collection! Because of the Maneki-neko I’ve always secretly wanted a calico Japanese bobtail cat. But I think I already have a Maneki-neko somewhere around my house since cats have always walked up to the door expecting to come in!

janetblue February 1, 2013 at 7:09 pm

Bernadette, Please see above for the reply to your comment. I managed to put it in the wrong place.

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