Fortune Cat is known as Maneki Neko in Japanese, which means “beckoning cat.” The cat has its paw raised as if it’s waving in good fortune for its owners. Other common monikers include Lucky Cat, Money Cat, and Welcoming Cat.
If you’ve ever visited a Chinese or Japanese restaurant, Asian supermarket, or any Chinatown shop for that matter, you’ve probably noticed a little cat figurine perched quietly by the cash register. This Fortune Cat, or Maneki Neko, is a lucky charm that’s very popular in Japanese and Chinese cultures. It’s a talisman that is believed to attract good luck and fortune for its owners. Thus, it’s very common to find one on display in stores, restaurants and other businesses.
There are a couple of popular legends about the origins of the Lucky Cat. The most popular tale tells of a wealthy man who took shelter from a rainstorm under a tree next to a temple. He noticed a cat that seemed to be beckoning to him, so he followed it inside the temple. Shortly thereafter, lightning struck the tree he had been standing under. Because the cat had saved his life, the man was so grateful, he became a benefactor of the temple and brought it much prosperity. When he passed away, a statue of the cat was made in his honor.
The Symbolism Behind This Lucky Cat’s Colors
While you’ll most commonly see a white Maneki Neko with orange and black spots, there are quite a few color variations and they each have a special meaning.
Calico: Traditional color combination, considered to be the luckiest White: Happiness, purity, and positive things to come Gold: Wealth and prosperity Black: Wards off evil spirits Red: Success in love and relationships Green: Good health
Includes: 1 Cat Figurine
Note: Moving paw powered by 2 AA battery (not included)