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I have heard the phrase "猫来穷, 狗来富" before but everywhere people have 招财猫s and 招福猫 ornaments, bracelets and the like.

So what's the deal? What's the association between cats and good fortune and/or money, etc.?

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

Actually this association comes from Japan, as written in 百度百科:招财猫. The article says there are stories of cats repaying their masters in Japan since Edo period and this is the origin of different kinds of 招财猫s. There is also a movie Neko no ongaeshi about this kind of stories.

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Just to add to this, these are called maneki neko in Japanese. manek-i is the nominal form of the verb manek- (招) and neko means cat. Wikipedia has an article about it here: – Dono Apr 14 '14 at 4:30

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