The Maneki Neko (literally "Beckoning Cat"; also known as Welcoming Cat, Lucky Cat, Techno 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.
Maneki Neko can be found with either the right or left paw raised. The significance of the right and left raised paw differs with time and place. The most common belief is that the left paw raised brings in customers, while a right paw brings wealth and good luck, although some believe the opposite. Still others say that a left paw raised is best for drinking establishments, the right paw for other stores.
It is commonly believed the higher the raised paw, the greater the luck. Consequently, over the years Maneki Neko's paw has tended to appear ever higher. Some use the paw height as a crude method of gauging the relative age of a figure. Another common belief is that the higher the paw, the greater the distance good fortune will come from.
Some Maneki Neko feature battery- or solar-powered moving arms endlessly engaged in the beckoning gesture.