Neko (term)

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An illustration of a Nekomata in the Hyakkai-Zukan.
A Nekomimi

Neko (, ねこ) is the Japanese word for a domestic cat.


In Japanese mythology and folklore, Bakeneko (化け猫) are cat yōkai, spirits with supernatural abilities akin to those of the kitsune or tanuki — specifically a type of obake, yokai who are shapeshifters or have shapeshifted. A cat may become a bakeneko in a number of ways: it may reach a certain age, be kept for a certain number of years, grow to a certain size, or be allowed to keep a long tail.

Nekomata (猫又) are another type of cat yōkai, whose tails split in two. They are sometimes considered a kind of bakeneko, and sometimes separate from it; as the word obake has became synonymous with yōkai in common usage.


Nekomimi (猫耳, literally cat ear[s]), also known as Nekomusume (猫娘 "cat daughter"), or more commonly as catgirls, are human female characters with cat traits, such as cat ears, tails or other feline characteristics; they are a kind of kemonomimi (human characters with animal traits). Nekomimi are prevalent in the anime fandom, either in anime and/or manga media, or portrayed in cosplay.

Neko and furry[edit]

As characters, cats (and nekomimi) are not considered furry per se, all though they can be also found in furry art, fursuiting, and as a basis for role play characters or fursonas.

See also[edit]

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