articlemostwanted - A friendly little statuette with a warm welcome found all over Japan and China. What the cat is doing with his paws carries a secret message.

The cute little Maneki Neko or beckoning cat is ubiquitous in Japan and China where he appears in both homes and offices. This friendly-looking china cat can also be seen in Oriental restaurants all over the world and is for many people the ultimate symbol of prosperity and good luck.

The Maneki Neko comes in different colors, each of which signifies a different meaning. For example, a red cat will protect from illness, and a black one will ward off evil.

The position of the paws also carries a message. With the right paw raised the cat will bring money and happiness to home and workplace. A cat raising its left paw (like the one illustrated here) will attract new customers for a business. And a cat with both paws raised hits the jackpot; both home and business will be happy and profitable, attracting good luck, friends, prosperity, and new clients.

This cat is also the symbol of the small Buddhist temple in Tokyo, where the original incident that shot the cat to fame is said to have happened. Originally the temple was a lowly place, whose impoverished priest would regularly share what little food he had with his pet cat. One day some Samurai were passing and noticed this cat, who had one paw raised as though to say hello. The warriors stopped, intrigued by the beckoning cat, and went into the temple just as a horrendous rain storm started. They believed that paying attention to the cat’s invitation had prevented them being struck by lightning. Thereafter, the fortunes of the priest, the temple, and of course the cat, started to change for the better.

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