Inside Walnut Hills Maneki Neko ‘Lucky Cat’ Museum

In Japanese, Maneki Neko literally translates to “beckoning cat.” And, the appearance of these kitty talismans are just that: Typically depicted as a calico Japanese bobtail, if the right paw is raised, expect good fortune; if it’s the left paw, you may see monetary gain. You may have noticed the figurines sitting in the parlors of Japanese restaurants, stores and businesses across the city (and the world). And this museum has over a 1,000 of these little dudes, all waving at onlookers.

The Lucky Cat Museum is located on a first-floor space inside the Essex Studios — glass displays stretch across the walls, containing various styles, colors and sizes of the cats. Some are golden, others white with red ears and a green bib. Some don black fur or are chipped. Some are stuffed, others ceramic and plastic. There are some wacky ones, too. All of them, however, carry a certain charm.

The owner of the unique gem, Micha Robertson, also work a Cappel’s costume shop (a neighbor of CityBeat)Take a stroll on Race Street or visit the museum and you’re likely to stumble upon her car. Fittingly, it’s painted like the Catbus from Studio Ghibli flick My Neighbor Totoro.

Robertson started her collection over a decade ago but opened the now-loved museum (the only one of its kind in America) in 2012.

If you’re into cats (if you’re not — who are you?) or just want some luck thrown your way, visit the thousand Maneki Nekos to ward off the heat. 3-6 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. Donations encouraged. 2511 Essex Place No. 150, Walnut Hills, luckycatmewseum.com.

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Inside Walnut Hills Maneki Neko ‘Lucky Cat’ Museum
Photo: Kellie Coleman

Inside Walnut Hills Maneki Neko ‘Lucky Cat’ Museum
Photo: Kellie Coleman

Inside Walnut Hills Maneki Neko ‘Lucky Cat’ Museum
Photo: Kellie Coleman

Inside Walnut Hills Maneki Neko ‘Lucky Cat’ Museum
Photo: Kellie Coleman

Inside Walnut Hills Maneki Neko ‘Lucky Cat’ Museum
Photo: Kellie Coleman

Inside Walnut Hills Maneki Neko ‘Lucky Cat’ Museum
Photo: Kellie Coleman

Inside Walnut Hills Maneki Neko ‘Lucky Cat’ Museum
Photo: Kellie Coleman

Inside Walnut Hills Maneki Neko ‘Lucky Cat’ Museum
Photo: Kellie Coleman

Inside Walnut Hills Maneki Neko ‘Lucky Cat’ Museum
Photo: Kellie Coleman

Inside Walnut Hills Maneki Neko ‘Lucky Cat’ Museum
Photo: Kellie Coleman