I picked up a copy of Matt Alt’s Yokai Attack! book recently, Folklore in general always interests me and since I picked up a copy of Reality Blur’s Iron Dynasty campaign setting to use for fantasy games set in old Japan with dark magic. Yokai Attack is an encyclopedia of monsters from Japanese superstition and tradition.

My favorite so far would be the neko-mata which are cats grown very old and which have gained paranormal powers. After a cat grows to a certain age its tail is said to split into two and the powers manifest. It is easy to imagine an random encounter for a group of adventurer’s in Iron Dynasty as meeting with a ferocious twin tailed cat who has the ability to raise and control the dead and has a taste for human flesh.

from the Wiki entry for bakeneko:

bakeneko (化け猫?, “monstercat“) is, in Japanese folklore, a cat with supernatural abilities akin to those of the fox or raccoon dog. A cat may become a bakeneko in a number of ways: it may reach a certain age, be kept for a certain number of years, grow to a certain size, or be allowed to keep a long tail. In the last case, the tail forks in two and the bakeneko is then called a nekomata (猫又?, or 猫股 “forked-cat”). This superstition may have some connection to the breeding of the Japanese Bobtail.

The connection between the folklore of the twin tailed monster cat and the Japanese bobtailed cats is one of those interesting crosses of superstition and reality.