Left paw or right? Black, white or red? : Decoding What does it mean when a beckoning cat has its right paw or its left paw raised? What do the different cat colors mean? What about the coin the Lucky Cat holds, or the bib? The meanings can vary from region to region within Japan, and some meanings have changed over time, but here is a general summary
- Tri-color Cat: (modeled after the Japanese bob-tail breed, this is a popular & traditional color for lucky cats, beckoning general good luck, wealth, prosperity)
- White Cat: purity, happiness
- Black Cat: safety, wards off evil and stalkers
- Golden Cat: wealth and prosperity
- Red Cat: protection from evil & illness (especially illness in children)
- Pink Cat (a more modern color): love, relationships and romance
- Green Cat (also a modern color): educations/studies
- Right paw raised: inviting money and luck (usually for businesses)
- Left Paw raised: invites customers or people (Some suggest the right & left paws both invite business-related prosperity, but that the left paw is for businesses of the night, such as bars, geisha houses & restaurants. Use of lucky cats in homes is more recent)
- Both Paws raised: invites protection of home or business
Coin: wealth and material abundance
Bib and Bell: may relate to protection, as well as wealth and material abundance (showing respect and veneration for the cat, caring for the cat and keeping it warm, displaying wealth, gold bell as symbol of treasure -either material or non-material)
This cat comes in all sizes and is found in homes, businesses, shops and so on. The Maneki Neko has become a global phenomenon.
The popularity of these lucky cats seems to be increasing constantly.
These cats are believed to attract good fortune. Many also call these cats “money cats”.
It is not uncommon to find piggy banks, key chains, pictures, jewelry and so on shaped as the Japanese lucky cat.