A regal looking Hong Kong shop cat
Much loved members of this elite group of felines?
My recent Malaysia-Indonesia trip series of blog posts finally came to a halt last Thursday -- but it doesn't mean I'm quite done mentioning my German friend (who was my travel companion for much of that time) just yet! A case in point: these days, pretty much whenever I see Japanese Fortune Cats (Maneki Neko) on sale in a store, I think of her: because on one of her trips back to Hong Kong, she was tasked by two of her German friends to get them Maneki Neko.
When she asked me where she could go about purchasing one, I had to confess to having had no idea where to do so. One reason why is that it's not at all often that I've bought a Maneki Neko for myself. And when I've done so, it's been in in their country of origin rather than Hong Kong!
Almost inevitably, I've since got to noticing Japanese Fortune Cats being sold in a variety of stores here in the Big Lychee. At the same time though, I'd maintain that one is more likely to come across real life cats in Hong Kong shops than Maneki Neko available for sale or placed by the store owners to attract luck, wealth and/or customers!
Their official role may be that of mouse-catchers rather than good luck charms or store mascots but the way they loll about and stride around the places where they are to be found, and the affection they generate, makes many a Hong Kong shop cat's status come across as significantly more elevated than many of the human staff! In recent years, a number of them have gained prominence by way of such as a popular photobook entitled -- what else? -- Hong Kong Shop Cats; and until the newspaper shop where he hung out closed down last year, many a cat-lover would make pilgrimages to the East Tsim Sha Tsui store to catch a glimpse of the famous British shorthair known as Brother Cream.
Although my love for a certain Hello Kitty is considerably greater than for any live feline, I must admit to not being immune to the latter's allure. And yes, I too have been known to stop in my tracks upon glimpsing a particular striking looking Hong Kong shop cat. Often times, it's to admire a particularly magnificent example of this category of animal. But there also was the time that I did a double take upon realizing that one of those (admittedly distant) cousins to the likes of lions, panthers and jaguars had been fitted out in an outfit festooned with kawaii heart patterns! ;D