An overview upon the superstitions being associated to these animals. 

by Maan D’ Asis Pamaran

Could your pet bring you luck? Why yes, your pet can! There are so many superstitions associated with the animals we know and love that sometimes, it seems it depends on which culture you decide to reference in your search for good juju. Putting that aside, here are some popular pets and an overview of the beliefs that reveal how they can attract luck for you.

1. Goldfish. If you get along swimmingly well with good luck, you might just want to get one of these for your fishbowl. Goldfish are one of the eight sacred symbols of Buddha, representing fertility, abundance, and harmony. Ancient Greeks believed that goldfish brought good luck to their marriages, while Egyptians brought these pets into their homes to add a touch of positivity to domestic life. To bring prosperity into the home, feng shui experts recommend having 8 regular goldfish and a single black one to block bad luck.

2. Frogs. Yes, they may be slimy, but they have long been considered good luck symbols by many cultures that depend on rain for bountiful harvests. For these agricultural civilizations, a frog can be a sign of good weather for planting and harvesting. These amphibians are seen as a symbol of fertility, transformation, and safe travel. This is why many Chinese shops have frog charms situated at the areas where they ring up their sales.

3. Rabbits. Forget about the lucky rabbit’s paw―it’s cruel and may actually bring you bad luck! Instead, why not take care of a real live bunny? Rabbits have long been associated with strong fertility. Ancient Saxons looked forward to seeing their first rabbit after a long winter, because they believed that spotting a rabbit was a message of the lush and hopeful spring to come.

4. Turtles. These creatures have earned a bad reputation because they are said to symbolize slow progress; however, they are considered lucky in Chinese beliefs because of their longevity. There, they are linked to hope and represent the wish for a long life. With their protective shells and charming demeanor, they are often considered symbols of tranquility. Cultures such as those of the Native Americans depict the turtle as carrying the world on its back or supporting the heavens.

5. Arowana. This fish is known for its power in feng shui. It symbolizes good health, prosperity, happiness, wealth, and power. Practitioners believe that that keeping arowana fish drives away evil spirits and bad omens. The fish is said to bring positive energy in the form of wealth and ample opportunities to excel. They advise that best place to keep this fish is in the north, east, or southeast area of your property; this will enhance the fish’s power to attract wealth and good opportunities for advancement.

6. Flowerhorn fish. This is another fish that is said to bring good luck to a household. It is believed to draw good energy from the environment while diminishing negativity from your house. This colorful pet is prized as it is said to bring extreme luck and love to its owner. The black spots are indications of prosperity and wealth. Feng shui experts advise placing its aquarium in the southeast corner of a room to bring wealth. If placed in the east, it is said to bring family harmony and well-being.

7. Dragon fish. If you have a student in the house, this fish will make an ideal pet. The gold-colored carp is known for its ability to swim against strong currents, therefore symbolizing perseverance and achievements. It can also bring career success to those climbing the corporate ladder. Feng shui advice is to keep 9 of these fish in an aquarium or pond located in the north area of the house to bring forth desired achievements and success.

8. Cats. Consider the Maneki-Neko, that ubiquitous beckoning cat that can be found at the front of many East Asian shops, particularly in Japan and China. These are said to welcome not only customers but also good fortune into the store. There are many folktales to explain why these little figurines came about but all of them have one thing in common – the belief that cats bring good luck. Some civilizations even go farther by placing higher value on colors of the cat’s fur. In Russia, blue cats were often thought lucky while the Japanese and British prefer calicos and tortoiseshells (threecolored cats) as their lucky picks. Black cats are thought to be bad omens in the US, but are considered lucky in Britain, where proverb even says, ‘Whenever the cat of the house is black, the lasses of lovers will have no lack.’ In the south of France, black cats are called ‘matagots’ or magicians, and owners who feed them well and take care of them receive good luck.9. Crickets. Aside from mouthy Mushu, Mulan had a lucky companion in the form of Cri-kee, her cricket. Chinese and Japanese beliefs in this little chirper hold it in high esteem as a good luck charm in the house. For them, crickets symbolize wisdom and prosperity. Farmers in these countries start planting season as soon as they hear its chirping. Native Americans also believe that crickets represent joy, intuition, and power of belief. A cricket’s ability to jump is said to offer the power to leap over a difficult situation. Besides, Jiminy can also make a good friend – and official conscience.

10. Dogs. Of course, man’s best friend has to be on this list. The dog has long been considered a liaison between the physical and non-physical dimensions. Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, and Celts have all prescribed the dog as a sacred guardian of the Otherworlds. For the Celts, dogs are also a representation of heroism. They are said to embody attributes such as courage, persistence, and virility. For the Chinese, dogs are a symbol of friendship, good luck, loyalty, obedience, and prosperity. There is a belief that letting stray dogs into your house is said to bring good fortune – maybe this will also be a good way to encourage adoption from animal shelters as a means of inviting good luck into your home.

This story appeared in Animal Scene’s April 2015 issue.