The lord became good friends with the cat and the poor priest. He gave the priest money to build a shrine. When the cat died the first Maneki Neko statue was made in his honor.
This is just one of the legends that seeks to explain the origin of Japan's beckoning cat statues (Maneki Neko). There are dozens of competing explanations.
Maneki Neko have been produced in Japan since the Meiji-era (possibly the Edo-era). They are thought to bring luck to their owners. They beckon with one paw. This gesture is the opposite in Western countries.
Maneki Neko cats are very popular in China. It's a common misperception that they're Chinese.
Maneki Neko cats have many styles. There are Maneki Neko stuffed animals, toys and other pop culture items.