Origin Story: Chinese Lucky Cat

In America we call it the Chinese Lucky Cat, but it actually got its start in Japan where it is known as maneki-neko, or “beckoning cat”.

maneki neko art print

Its association with being lucky comes from Japanese folktales, where cats who hung around a merchant’s doorway were believed to attract customers. These talismans are still immensely popular in Chinese American communities, which is why we think of them as being Chinese.


Fun fact: It is also said that the Pokémon named Meowth is based on a maneki-neko, though whether that’s true or not is much debated on the internet.


What we can all agree on is that they are adorable and everyone should have (at least) one.  Because who doesn’t want more good luck in their life?


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