If you haven’t visited a Shinto shrine or Buddhist temple in Japan before, praying is usually done at the 拝殿 haiden (worship hall). For the traditional New Year’s visit, known as 初詣 hatsumōde, it is customary to stop in front of the 賽銭 saisen offertory box, make a donation (usually a 5-yen coin, which is said to bring good luck), then shake a thick woven rope, known as the 鈴の緒 suzu no o, to shake the bell and call the god(s).

It was unclear if it was because of a lower human turnout or just feline curiosity, but one black cat that was captured by nori ( @nori22 ) at a Shinto shrine on January 2, seemed to be in a praying mood.

Perhaps the shrine will place a smaller bell and rope next to the main one for cats to pray. It will take more than prayer to end the pandemic, but humans can still use any help they can get.Maybe it’s just a little selfish for humans to think this way. Cats may have their own motivations, desires and needs.Some people created a picture of what the cat might have prayed for in response to the viral tweets from nori. The first one has 186,000 likes and 45,000 replies at the time. These are just a few comments:

  • “I pray for (cats to) get their own 干支 eto [Chinese zodiac animal].”
    “I hope I’ll pass my interview with Kuroneko Yamato [a famous delivery service with a black cat logo]”
    “I hope this year, I’ll finally have chance to eat some Churu [a famous brand of cat food]”

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