Bakeneko

bakenekoThe shapeshifting cat of Japanese legend is called the bakeneko (化け猫) – pronounced “bah-kay-nay-ko”.The interesting thing about this shapeshifter is that their original form is that of a cat, and their transformed form is that of a human!

Legends vary surrounding how and when the bakeneko is able to shapeshift. The most commonly accepted theory is that, like the kitsune, as they advance in age, they will gain the ability to transform.  Other legends say that the shapeshifting abilities can start when the cat reaches 8 pounds, or if the cat has been kept for a certain number of years.  There are also certain bakeneko that cannot – or donot – shapeshift at all – these creatures however are still able to talk while in their original cat form.

What are the Bakeneko like?

  • in cat form, they are able to walk on their hind legs
  • in cat form, some are able to talk
  • cause mischief
  • known to hold grudges
  • some have been known to impersonate their owner
  • faithful to those who have sacrificed for them
  • some myths say that their shadow can appear to be that of a cat when in human form
  • can reanimate a corpse by jumping over it
  • can create fireballs
  • some can enter people’s dreams
  • can become quite large in size

It’s also interesting to note that although the bakeneko have a reputation for being relatively unfriendly towards humans, some have actually been known to be quite faithful to some humans – particularly those who have made a personal sacrifice to keep them safe (for example, a very poor person with little food, feeding them).

There is also a creature called the Nekomata.

The nekomata is a bakeneko that has aged enough that it’s tail has split, or “forked” in two.  It has many of the other same characteristics of the bakeneko, however is said to be unfriendly towards humans, in many cases haunting their owners more so than a bakeneko would do.

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12 Responses

  1. Stellaluxa says:

    I think last nightI dreamt about this before I read this, like my dream foreshadowed the bakeneko. Weird….

  2. Attel says:

    Thanks btw and I was kidding but still I’m very exited thanks so much buddy

  3. Attel says:

    Some info is false and some is nekomata and some is true

  4. Attel says:

    Of anyone has questions feel free to ask

  5. william says:

    @Attel:WOW!:D!!!!! The bakeneko are so awesome!!!can you talk on your cat form?I just find cats facinating! This is just cool:)

  6. Attel says:

    I can but I don’t do it often only when it is necessary

  7. william says:

    @Attel: how can you find a bakeneko?

  8. she wolf says:

    I love Bakeneko. I’ve knew some manga/anime with this fantastic creatures. Like Naruto and Rosario+Vampire(Both have kitsune and bakeneko in the story). Not to mention in rosario, There’s a character nicknamed Gin who is a werewolf. He maybe sounds cool for you but he is a flirtatous werewolf who will touch a girl’s boobs or legs when he likened it. Sounds not too cool for girls lol. XD

  9. Attel says:

    @william: freeze them if they become a cat then they are one

  10. Marney says:

    attel are you still here? if so can we talk?

  11. Marney says:

    also curious are all Nekomata bad? something tells me no and it is only what humans see and write as back then cats were hated

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