11-11-11 Fortune Cat Maneki Neko – Furball Fables

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The date 11-11-11 comes along once every 100 years and is thought to have special meaning. Yesterday was not only Veterans and Remembrance Day, it was an auspicious and lucky day for many, as well.  The Furball Fables kitties have had the date circled on their calendar for quite some time, and they made a magical pilgrimage to mark the special day.

The Furball Kitties take money matters into their own paws and go on an adventure when they hear there is no money for cat food.  They journey to see Maneki Neki Fortune Cat, who blesses them with abundance.

Their Mom made a video to tell the story of their adventure.

Who is Fortune Cat? Maneki Neko is the subject of a number of legends. The Maneki Neko (literally “Beckoning Cat”; also known as Welcoming Cat, Lucky Cat, Cat Swipe, Money cat, or Fortune Cat) is seen now a days as Japanese sculpture, which is believed to bring good luck to the owner. The sculpture shows a cat (traditionally a calico Japanese Bobtail) beckoning with an upright paw, and is usually displayed—many times at the entrance—in shops, restaurants, and other businesses. Maneki Neko can be found with either the right or left paw raised (and sometimes both). The significance of the right and left raised paw differs with time and place. The most common belief is that the left paw raised brings in customers, while a right paw brings good luck and wealth, although some believe the opposite. Still others say that a left paw raised is best for drinking establishments, the right paw for other stores.

Here are three of the most popular legends, explaining the cat’s origins:
The Temple Cat: This story goes that a wealthy feudal lord was taking shelter under a tree near Gotoku-ji temple (in Western Tokyo) during a thunderstorm. The lord saw the temple priest’s cat beckoning to him and followed; a moment later the tree was struck by lightning. The wealthy man became friends with the poor priest and the temple became prosperous. When the cat died, supposedly the first Maneki Neko was made in his honor.

The Courtesan: A geisha named Usugumo, living in Yoshiwara, in eastern Tokyo, kept a cat, much beloved by her. One night, the cat began tugging at her kimono. No matter what she did, the cat persisted. The owner of the brothel saw this, and believing the cat bewitched, cut its head off. The cat’s head then flew to the ceiling where it killed a snake, ready at any moment to strike. Usugumo was devastated by the death of her companion. To cheer her up, one of her customers made her a wooden likeness of her cat as a gift. This cat image then became popular as the Maneki Neko.

The Old Woman: An old woman living in Imado (eastern Tokyo) was forced to sell her cat due to extreme poverty. Soon afterwards the cat appeared to her in a dream. The cat told her to make its image in clay. She did as instructed, and soon afterward sold the statue. She then made more, and people bought them as well. They were so popular she soon became prosperous and wealthy.

Text and video by Chase Holiday. Furball Fables’s Channel at YouTube

Chase reprinted the legends from Maneki Neko – Wikipedia

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