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The lucky cat, also known as Maneki-neko, (Japanese for beckoning cat), is a popular symbol of good luck and fortune in both Japanese and Chinese cultures. This cute little kitty can usually be found on display in various Asian businesses such as stores and restaurants. If the lucky cat has its left paw raised it is supposed to attract customers while if the right paw is raised it is meant to attract money and fortune.

The origin of the Lucky Cat has multiple legends and differs based on who you ask but it first began appearing in Japan during the Edo period (17th – 19th century). One story was of a man who owned a failing tavern who took in a starving, stray cat even though he could barely feed himself. The grateful cat sat outside the tavern attracting customers to the failing business until eventually the tavern became financially successful.

There are also some stories of people who came across a cat who seemed to beckon them. As the people followed they were saved from a trap in one story and a bolt of lightning in another, both of which end with the praise of the lucky beckoning cat.

Regardless, of how the lucky cat came to be it has been used as a symbol of luck, fortune, and prosperity for centuries.

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