A maneki neko,
early Meiji period (1868-1912),
( with the kind permission of
Other exquisite images of Beckoning Cats and graceful, intelligent text about them may be found here.
Warning: You may experience distracting moments of covetous lust.
Mr. Pape tells me that the Mingei Museum in San Diego will be staging a maneki neko exhibition next year.
I have been researching ghost cats for another Lillie St. Claire adventure (maybe for a short story like Stone Child and Corpse Candles, maybe for a sequal to A Malignity of Ghosts)
As you may remember, A Malignity of Ghosts is an urban fantasy featuring exorcist/paranormal investigator Lillie St. Claire.
The city fathers have reacted to a pandemic of ghostly visitations by deciding that the ensuing problems are simply a more exotic violation of municipal standards -- an extension of by-law control issues, like parking meters, barking dogs and garbage -- and hire Lillie as ghost-buster to eliminate any intrusive spirits and specters found disturbing the peace and privacy of its citizens.
Of course, Malignity becomes more complicated and dangerous than a series of fritzzz -- ghost begone episodes of the casual exorcism of ...er... merely mundane entities...
This established municipal context led me to consider the story potential of a cat lady/cat hoarder who collects cat ghosts. That idea led me to Wikipedia and bake-nekos, neko-matas, considerable folk and fake lore -- and the intriguing, contradictory legends of the Beckoning Cat.
My Demon is running a contest on her blog, Obfuscation of Reality. The prize is a signed copy of Faith Hunter's urban fantasy Skinwalker. If you link to the contest you gain two entries. Heh. Go here for details.