Awesome Stories

What’s the Story Behind the Japanese Lucky Cat?

More likely than not, you’ve seen Maneki-Neko — the Japenese Lucky Cat. Maybe she was waving a paw from the front counter of your favorite Japanese restaurant or shop, in hopes that she’d bring luck and prosperity and more customers. Did you know, the cat’s color, her clothing, collar, and even what paw was raised were of special significance?

For example, a white cat is said to bring good luck and a black cat will ward off evil spirits. A gold cat, commonly seen in shops, is said to bring good fortune, whereas a pink cat is said to bring love. Does the cat have her right paw raised? That brings good luck with money. Is her left paw up? That’s for luck in the form of many customers. Maneki-Neko might wear a scarf, a bell, a coin, and each trinket she is adorned with has its own symbolism. Even the height of her paw bears a certain meaning!

So, what is the origin of the lucky cat? Well, there are many tales. One of the most popular stories is the Legend of the Gotokuji Temple. It is said that a wealthy samurai was taking shelter under a tree near the temple when he noticed the temple priest’s cat beckoning to him to take shelter inside. Just as he approached the cat, the tree he’d been sheltering under was struck by lightning.

Gotokuji Temple, Japan

Grateful that the cat had saved his life, the wealthy samurai gifted the temple with funding for its upkeep. When the cat died, a statue was created in his likeness, thus creating the lucky cat we know today!

Would you like to have your very own Lucky Cat? You can find Maneki-Neko’s likeness on just about anything, from jewelry to phone covers, to the classic beckoning cat statue. There is even a museum in Ohio, dedicated to the beloved Lucky Cat!



  1. Pingback: 5 Surprising Superstitions About Cats - The Catington Post

  2. Pingback: Pregnancy, Baby And Cat Superstitions | Kittystead

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Just when this dog-eat-dog world has handed you all the poop you can take, it's time to walk the dog. Or wash the dog. Or feed the dog. You get the idea. So welcome to the world of easy-to-care-for cats. Entertainment comes bundled in a furry, huggable, self-cleaning cat who won't beg for your food. In his eyes, you don't eat well enough anyway. Just keep a laser pen handy, sit back and wait for the fun to begin! Cats...ya gotta love 'em.

Become a Contributor!

Copyright © 2016 Catington Post.

To Top
Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest cat news, recalls, and kitty contests!

You have Successfully Subscribed!