Lucky Cat Meanings in Feng Shui: Secrets of the Maneki Neko

Updated April 29, 2021
Lucky cats

The lucky cat meaning is one of good luck bestowed on its owner. This popular Japanese cat figurine, Maneki Neko, is also known as the beckoning cat.

Lucky Cat Meaning in Feng Shui

Many people believe Maneki Neko is waving, but the lucky cat is actually beckoning, inviting positive attributes such as wealth, luck, or customers towards it. Some feng shui practitioners have adopted Maneki Neko as a good luck symbol. The cat is also known as the money cat or good fortune cat since many people place the colorful decorated cat in the wealth sector. Shopkeepers set the lucky cat by their cash registers while other businesses place it on display in their wealth sectors as a feng shui remedy. Some people set the cute, comical-looking cat in their recognition and fame sector.

Color Meanings

Along with the placement of the lucky cat in various feng shui luck sectors, Maneko Neki's color can have different meanings and attract certain energies. So, many people match the cat's color or pattern to the area of their life that needs an infusion of good luck. These include:

  • Black - protection from all kinds of threats and enemies
  • Blue - attracts harmony, peace, and happiness
  • Calico (tri-colored) - luckiest cat of all, wealth, and prosperity
  • Gold - wealth and money
  • Green - favors students in studies, heals sickness
  • Pink - attracts love and romance
  • Red - protector against evil and contracting disease
  • White - purity and happiness
Lucky cat meaning

Raised Cat's Paw Significance

The lucky cat figure features at least one paw raised in a welcoming or waving gesture. An upraised right paw invites luck and money. If the left paw is raised, customers will flock to a business. When you find a lucky cat with both paws up, it means doubled good fortune or strong protection. Almost always, this tiny, charming feline is smiling - an optimistic image with an optimistic mission.

Lucky cat to attract customers

Meaning of Maneki Neko's Toys or Accessories

Lucky cats are fancy felines with symbolic accessories. They often sport an "embroidered" bib, a shiny gold bell, and a collar - all affectations of pampered Edo-era cats belonging to wealthy owners. The bell simply made it easy to find the cat. But Maneki Neko also grasp or carry a few tchotchkes, and each of these has significance.

  • A small, decorated hammer is a money mallet for summoning wealth, naturally.
  • A fish signals prosperity with a silver or scaly golden "lucky" carp.
  • A crystal, marble, or gemstone "ball" is an obvious marker for wealth.
  • Clear or crystal balls indicate or invite wisdom.
  • A coin or gold ingot is self-explanatory. Some people scatter reproduction Chinese or Japanese coins around the base of their money cats. You may want to buy a money cat piggy bank for added wealth luck.
  • A prayer poem or prayer tablet welcomes fortune the same way traditional "door poems" (displayed during the Lunar New Year) do.
  • A daikon radish symbolizes abundance.
  • A koban, or gold-colored coin copied from the Edo period, suspended from the cat's collar, stands in for extraordinary wealth or your future if you keep that cat well-dusted.

Origins of the Lucky Cat

During the Edo period in Japan (1615 -1868), Maneki Neko made its first recorded appearance. Maneki means beckoning and Neko means cat in Japanese. Cats have always been associated with welcoming or inviting protection, wealth, and good fortune. Today, you will find the ceramic cats near the cash register in Asian shops and restaurants, at the entryway of businesses and homes, and in wealth corners, as an added incentive to prosperity.

Maneki Neko Legends

There are numerous stories about the origins of the lucky cat tradition. Each one provides a sliver of insight into the feng shui power of cats!

Shelter in a Storm

One tale recounts a traveler to a modest shrine who took shelter under a tree during a storm. When a little cat seemed to be waving him into the temple, he moved just as the tree was struck by lightning. Afterwards, out of gratitude, the traveler made a generous donation to the temple.

Clay Figure Saves Cat

Another story involves a poor old woman who could not afford to feed her cat. Heartbroken, she explained to the cat that she would have to abandon it, but the cat told her to make a clay cat figure first. The old woman made such a fine image of her cat that she sold it for good money. She continued to make clay figurines that kept her and her beloved pet in an abundance of food for the rest of their days.

Geisha's Cat

One more adventure comes from the geisha and feudal culture. It is said that a favorite geisha adored her cat, but one day, it would not stop pulling on her robes during a formal ceremony. Enraged, the feudal lord had the cat beheaded, and the head flew up and sank its teeth into a poisonous snake that was poised over the assembled guests. To dry the tears of the geisha, a statue of the cat was created and given a place of honor in the household.

Lucky cat

Placing Maneki Neko in Your Home

Traditional Maneki Neko cats are calico, and these are considered the luckiest. Even within feng shui placement, this style of lucky cat belongs anywhere. You can take advantage of the different colors of cats and their meanings by allowing them to determine the best placement for good luck.

Gold for Wealth

The gilded feline belongs in your wealth corner, the southeast corner of your room, home, office, or desk. This lucky cat will activate the chi for a salary increase, unexpected income, or new opportunities that will create financial abundance.

White for Positive Energy

In feng shui, a white luck cat can be set in the north sector of a room for greater career opportunities. When placed in the west, the luck cat attracts good luck for your children, and the northwest will bring you mentor and helpful people luck.

Red and Pink for Love

Both read and pink cats are the color of love. You can park either cat in the southwest area of your bedroom or home to activate your love and relationship luck.

Red or Fame

In the south corner of any space, a red cat will bring you greater recognition. This sector also rules over your fame luck and will boost your ventures so they are successful.

Black for Protection and Health

Far from unlucky, this black cat will bring you more money when you place it in the north area of any room. It will enhance your career.

Green for Wealth, Positive Energy, and Health

A green lucky cat is perfect for the east health luck. A southeast placement will find your wealth luck increased. The color of life, a green lucky cat in the south amplifies positive energy. Green is the feng shui color of wood, and it will fuel the fire energy ruling the south sector.

Invite Positive Vibes

You can add a Maneki Neko to the decor of your business or home. A lucky cat in your dorm room is cute and might just help you get through finals. A kitty in the kitchen could boost the healthy nutrition of the meals you cook. The friendly, fun little lucky cat anywhere is an invitation to smile and contemplate good fortune. This upbeat attitude will naturally draw positive energy to you and your daily pursuits.

Attract Good Luck With Maneki Neko

The lucky cat has many meanings based on color and poses. You can have an advantage when you use your lucky cat along with the various meaning of the Maneki Neko.

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Lucky Cat Meanings in Feng Shui: Secrets of the Maneki Neko