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The Bakeneko is a type of Japanese Yōkai, or supernatural creature that is a cat. It is often confused with the Nekomata, another cat-like yōkai, and the distinction between the two can often be quite ambiguous.

The reason that cats are seen as yōkai in Japanese mythology is attributed to many of the characteristics that they possess: for example, the way the irises of their eyes change shape depending on the time of day, the way their fur seems to cause sparks due to static electricity when they are petted (especially in winter), the way they sometimes lick blood, the way they can walk without making a sound, their wild nature that remains despite the gentleness they can show at times, the way they are difficult to control (unlike dogs), the sharpness of their claws and teeth, their nocturnal habits, and their speed and agility.

One folk belief concerning the bakeneko is that they would lick the oil of oriental lamps, and it is said that for a cat to lick this oil is an omen of some strange event about to occur