What’s the Secret Behind the Famous Lucky Cat Figurine?

Going to Chinatown, or Japanese restaurants, we often see a small cat statue that seems like waving. Most of us know it’s a lucky cat figurine, and brings good luck for the business owner. But this thing has more interesting details we need to know!


Originally from Japan, the fortune cat figurine is called Maneki-neko which means beckoning cat. Yes, it’s not waving, actually.


Western people, or people from outside Japan, thought it’s waving due to the difference in body language and gestures. In Japan, the beckoning gesture is made by holding the hand, palm down, and then repeatedly folding the fingers down and back. This is the actual gesture of Maneki-neko.


There are some secrets about the fortune cat figurine. Their colours symbolise something, and the raised paw also means something. Here are unique facts about Maneki-neko:


Maneki Neko – Lucky Cat in blue color

  • White cat means purity, happiness and positive things to come. This traditional colour is the most popular one.

  • Black cat believed to ward off evil spirit, and to chase away bad luck.

  • Golden cat is for wealth and prosperity. Also easy to find in Japan stores, since it’s bringing in money or monetary fortune.

  • Tri-colour cat is beckoning general wealth, good luck and prosperity.

  • Calico cat, which combines traditional colours, is considered to be the luckiest cat.

  • Red cat believed to ward off illnesses, especially children illnesses.

  • Blue cat improves safety at home and praying for traffic safety.

  • Yellow cat means good match for marriage.

  • Green cat is hoping for success in one’s education or studies.

  • Pink cat improves one’s to be lucky in love.

  • Leopard print cat is so popular among politicians, because it’s bringing in many votes from the electorate.


Apart from the colours, there’s significance of the Maneki-neko’s raised paw. Here are what they means:

  • Right paw raised invites money and good fortune.

  • Left paw raised attracts more customers.

  • Both paws raised represents protection of home or business.


Indeed, whether it’s right paw or left paw raised, the lucky cat invites business-related prosperity. But the significance of the right and left raised paw differs with place and time. Japanese believed that left paw raised is best for business at night, such as bar or restaurant. While right paw raised is for other stores, or home for that matter.


After knowing all of these, are you going to buy Maneki-neko for your house or business decorations?