The 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.
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.