Bitlifting

a directory of the bizarre, disturbing, and wonderful

Japan’s Kitty Obsession

The Japanese seem to have a long-running love affair with cats. The myth of the Maneki Neko (the “Beckoning Cat”) has been around for at least a few hundred years.

Maneki Neko -- Beckoning Cat

“The Maneki Neko (招き猫, literally “Beckoning Cat“; also known as Welcoming Cat, Lucky Cat, Money cat or Fortune Cat) is a common Japanese sculpture, often made of porcelain or ceramic, which is believed to bring good luck to the owner. The sculpture depicts a cat (traditionally a Japanese Bobtail) beckoning with an upright paw, and is usually displayed—many times at the entrance—in shops, restaurants, pachinko parlors, and other businesses. Some of the sculptures are electric or battery-powered and have a slow-moving paw beckoning. In the design of the sculptures, a raised right paw supposedly attracts money, while a raised left paw attracts customers.”

Then there’s the bakaneko, a fire-breathing ghost-cat that can reanimate corpses by jumping over them. Sounds pretty scary. Where do they come from, and how do I avoid them!? Well, a normal cat may become a bakaneko if its tail grows to a certain size — one possible explanation for why short-tailed cats are so common in Japan.

In a previous post, I talked about a Japanese photo contest for cats that sit like humans. The contest has concluded, and here is the winner:

Suko Zuwari photo contest winner

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Suko Zuwari: A delightfully strange kitty obsession

Japanese love cats that sit like humans

Scottish Folding

suko-zuwari = the amusing human-like sitting style of some cats

Over at the pet section of Yahoo! Japan, a Suko-zuwari” photo contest is in progress. “Suko-zuwari” is a word created by Japanese cat lovers to describe the amusing human-like sitting style of some cats. The behavior is most commonly found in Scottish Folds, so the first part of “Scottish” [スコティッシュ] was combined with word for “sitting” [座り] to make “suko-zuwari“ [スコ座り].

Fuji TV’s “Mezamashi TV” morning show recently ran a segment about the online photo contest, visiting a cat cafe to observe some “suko-zuwari“:

They find a few cats sitting in just such a pose, and comments are made about how it resembles the sitting style of lazy middle-aged men.

A cat expert says that cats often make various poses while licking themselves clean, and it is possible that some cats discover through their cleaning routines that the “suko-zuwari” position is comfortable. Only male cats seem to sit that way, and it may have something to do with their own desire to smell themselves. [via Japan Probe]

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