As one of us, the cat is seated here–– the departing year –Issa
This cat is called “Maneki-neko” which translates to “Beckoning Cat”. It is also called as Welcoming cat or Fortune cat and is believed to bring good luck to the owner. This cat resembles a breed of cat which is native to Japan, the Japanese Bobtail. Most often this cat is white in color but even golden cats are common these days. Usually one paw of the Maneki neko is raised high – to beckon the onlooker. The raised paw can be either left or right, but the significance varies for both paws. The raised left paw is to attract money , good luck or wealth while the right paw supposedly protects good fortune, money and wealth. It is also believed that the raised left paw attracts customers and this one is more common of the two. However certain sculptures have both paws raised, perhaps to beckon good fortune and to protect it.
At times the Maneki neko sculpture has a red collar around its neck which owes its origin to the attire of cats in wealthy families in old days. Sometimes the Maneki neko also holds a gold coin in its hand which signifies the association of Maneki neko with the good fortune.
Maneki Neko sculptures are usually placed at the entrance of stores, restaurants, gaming parlors and other commercial places. One particular lottery chain has a giant sculpture or poster outside most of its ticket kiosks.