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The cat has long been a part of Japanese culture with the Gotokuji Temple in Tokyo dedicated to Maneki Neko, the beckoning cat. Maneki Neko is considered to be a good fortune talisman and always has one paw raised and is often depicted in paintings and as a statue in Japanese restaurants, stores, banks and businesses.

Maneki Neko is a Japanese Bobtail cat, an ancient breed found in Japan and most of south-east Asia. As the name suggests, the Japanese Bobtail has a naturally short tail and it is thought that bobtailed cats arrived in Japan from Korea in the Sixth Century and were used to protect manuscripts from mice.

The Bobtail is a medium sized cat, well muscled but slender in build. The legs are long and elegant but not fragile in appearance, and the hind legs are noticeably longer than the forelegs which give the bobtail a unique gait. The ideal Bobtail has an oriental appearance, the head forming an equilateral triangle with large, oval and slanted eyes. The ears are large and upright and slant forward.

A characteristic of the Japanese Bobtail is, of course, its bobtail! Not only is the tail unique to the breed, each tail is unique to the individual cat. The tail must be no less than 7.5 cms (3 inches) long and clearly visible. There are several types of tail, pompom, fan, hook, shaving brush, corkscrew but no one type is preferred. Many Japanese Bobtails have sensitive tails and this area of the cat should only be handled very gently. Many Bobtails have the delightful habit of wriggling their tails like a rabbit.

The Japanese Bobtail comes in an array of colours, from pure glistening white to dense coal black but ranging through deep rich red, tri-colour, tortoiseshell, blues, cream, tabbies. The most commonly depicted colours in Japanese art are white or parti-colours.

The coat comes in two lengths - shorthair which is of medium length, soft and silky without an undercoat; and longhair which is also soft and silky but has a noticeable frontal ruff and longer coat towards the hindquarters, especially on the tail and britches. There is no noticeable undercoat and the coat does not disguise the outline of the body.

The Bobtail is an intelligent playful, affectionate cat but also strong-willed, active and energetic. It requires companionship (human or cat) to prevent boredom which can lead to destructive behaviour.

Japanese Bobtails were introduced into USA from Japan in the 1960s and have recently been introduced to Australia so prospective cat owners looking for something different can consider adding one of these beguiling creatures to the household.

Petcare Information and Advisory Service Australia

Last Update: 12/02/08 10:27 Views: 7526

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