A Cattery Specializing in the Japanese Bobtail

Owner/Breeders Beth Graham and Brett Sarkissian
Located in the Washington DC area, Virginia


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The Legend of Maneki Neko, the Beckoning Cat

Many Japanese places of business display a little statuette of a cat with one raised paw. The Maneki Neko (Beckoning Cat) is usually depicted as a mi-ke Japanese Bobtail (a white cat with red and black spots). The statuette welcomes in customers and act as a wish for business success and personal happiness.  It also welcomes in personal happiness and harmony. In a house they are supposed to beckon in good friends.

A black cat is a wish for good health, and a metallic gold cat is a wish for riches. The most common statuette features a cat with its left paw raised. Some white and spotted cats have their right paws raised, but these are not widely seen.

The legend of the Beckoning Cat begins at the Gotoku-ji temple, a Buddhist monastery that was hurting for money. Although the monks were starving, they made sure that their mi-ke cat named Tama ate. One day, the cat went out in front of the monastery, and began to sit on its hind legs and wave its paw.

An hour passed, and a wealthy Samurai attached to the Shogun happened by. He was taken by the cuteness of the cat and, upon realizing it was sitting out in front of a monastery, decided to come in and pray. When the Samurai saw the pitiful condition of the monks, he gave everything in his purse to the monks, which was a sizeable sum. The monks recovered, the Samurai's conscience was purged, and the little mi-ke who beckoned the Samurai in became an object of curiosity. Since then, the beckoning cat has become a charm for luck in business. The moral of the story is: never underestimate the power of kawae (cuteness).

In another retelling of the legend, the Samurai followed the cat into the temple and instantly, a lightning bolt struck the place where the lord had been standing. Thus the cat had saved his life. From then on, the Maneki Neko has been considered an incarnation of the Goddess of Mercy.

The Gotoku-ji Temple now houses dozens of statues of this Cat, and owners of lost or sick cats stick up prayer boards with the image of the Beckoning Cat in this temple. If you want to learn more, visit the Maneki Neko Club website.


 
A Cattery specializing in the Japanese Bobtail
   
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