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Appearance

Both Bakemono and Nekomata are said to appear as very large cats with longer tails than they should possess. A nekomata is an older bakeneko whose tail has partially split in two (distinguishable from having two tails, since they join before they reach the body).

Personality

They may use their shape-shifting powers to live a life as a human would normally, sometimes by taking the place of a member of the household after killing and consuming them in their sleep. They may take the form of a person they intend to kill or harm. Other stories tell about how a bakeneko may sometimes shape-shift into a beautiful girl, so that their owner would be able to marry them and have children.

Lore

According to Japanese folklore, a cat may become a bakeneko by meeting any of the following three conditions:

  • living over 100 years of age
  • reaching one kan (3.75 kg or 8.25 lbs) in weight
  • growing its tail too long, which, according to myth, may fork into two. This particular kind of bakeneko is referred to as a nekomata.

Once transformed, bakeneko gain a range of paranormal powers. These powers are used to haunt the household they live in. They include:

  • menacing (even eating) sleeping humans
  • walking on its hind legs
  • flying
  • talking
  • creating ghostly fireballs
  • leaping over a fresh corpse, turning it into a zombie
  • shapeshifting into human forms

Bakeneko also have the ability to eat anything in their way, regardless of size or edibility. This includes humans. Their main food is poison, particularly a certain snake unknown to humankind. Bakeneko are also sometimes said to have the power to enter someone’s dreams.

Sources

Wikipedia - Bakeneko

Wikipedia - Nekomata

Hyakumonogatari - Bakeneko

Hyakumonogatari - Nekomata

Obakemono - Bakeneko

Obakemono - Nekomata

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