It’s likely that you’ve come across the lucky cat symbol at some point, whether in a restaurant, at a store, or in a movie. While lucky cats are especially popular in Japan and Asia, they’ve also made their way across the world and are now a familiar image in many different countries and cultures.
What Is the Lucky Cat Symbol?
The Lucky Cat, or welcoming cat, also known as maneki-neko, is a symbol that originated in Japan. In Japanese, maneki-neko means beckoning cat. The idea is that the cat is welcoming and greeting you. This lucky cat symbol is considered good luck to place in your home, office, or business.
You can recognize the lucky cat symbol because it always has one arm up, with the paw facing down, almost as if it’s waving. There are even some lucky cats with a solar or electrically powered arm that moves up and down. Typically, one would use the right paw up to invite wealth, while the left paw up can greet clients and friends. Lucky cats are also often adorned with a coin, which represents wealth, along with other items like scarves, bibs, or bells. Lucky cats are often placed in the entrance of restaurants and stores to invite customers.
If you visit Japan, you will probably see a window full of lucky cats at a store, entire shrines dedicated to the lucky cat, and even a museum of lucky cats. There is a festival that happens each year to celebrate maneki-neko. Lucky cats aren’t only in Japan, though—you can find this popular symbol all over Asia, and to a lesser extent, other continents as well.
Lucky cat statues can be made of ceramic, metal, plastic, or other materials. They also come in different colors, which can be used for different intentions, such as gold for wealth and pink for love.
There are various stories of where the lucky cat imagery first got started, but many cultures consider cats to be magical animals with supernatural powers. Besides that, they are beloved as pets and companions, and have been highly regarded in Japanese culture. There is also a powerful metaphor in taking care of something, like a pet or talisman, that also takes care of you.
Using the Lucky Cat Symbol in Feng Shui
Even though feng shui comes from China, one can skillfully use symbols from any culture and apply feng shui principles to them. Be sure to be mindful and respectful of any culture whose symbols you are using, though, and take the time to learn about and understand them. It’s a good idea to mindfully use symbols that really resonate with you, instead of just buying various objects that are supposed to be “good feng shui.” Choose the objects and symbols that are meaningful to you, and work with them thoughtfully and intentionally.
The lucky cat is similar to a door protector like fu dogs, which are mythical creatures that are often used to guard and protect the entrances to homes, temples, and businesses. Lucky cats are friendlier, cuter guardians with a welcoming energy, and like fu dogs, they can be placed near the entrance to a building.
Facing Outward at Window
You can locate the lucky cat in a window facing out, because it’s beckoning and welcoming people and prosperity into your space. It’s ideal for a business or office window, but you can also try one at your front door at home.
If your intention for the lucky cat is to invite more wealth and prosperity, you can also place it in the wealth corner, called Xun in feng shui. To find Xun position in your home, stand in the front entrance looking in and imagine a three-by-three grid laid over your space. The far left area of the grid is Xun. If you’re having a hard time locating Xun in your home, you can also find the far left corner of your bedroom or home office and place your lucky cat there.
Types of Lucky Cats
Lucky cat statues come in many sizes and colors. You can try selecting one based on the five element colors to bring in the qualities associated with that element. For example, a white or metallic finish represents metal, connected to precision and completion, while a black lucky cat is connected to the water element, representing intuition and wisdom. A lucky cat that is painted red will invite more fire energy, which is related to passion, inspiration, and recognition.