Have you ever wondered why there was no cat in the Chinese zodiac animals? So have we! There’s a tiger, we got it, it comes from the same family as cats, but still, a tiger is no cat. So, we investigated the matter and wrote this post to explain to you everything to know about Chinese zodiac signs, and especially why there’s no cat zodiac sign!
Ready to investigate the twelve Chinese zodiac signs? Let’s explore the twelve zodiac signs, their meanings, their stories and their link with the five elements and see if that helps us discover why cats weren’t invited to join the party.
The Five Chinese Elements
The Chinese often like to talk about Chinese Zodiac compatibility, perhaps placing a larger emphasis on the importance of proper compatibility than we do in the West. And it’s not all about the sign! In Western Astrology, you don’t define someone by its astrological sign solely and in China it’s no different, people are characterized by both their zodiac sign but also by their Chinese element.
The twelve Chinese zodiac signs have a great impact on people’s personality. Inside a same zodiac sign, there can be different people with different characteristics as they are may be not from the same element. Let’s take the rat for example, you can find fire rats but also water or wood rats that will have different behaviors.
If you want to know which element you are, this page about the Chinese Zodiac animals and elements will help.
- Water is said to represent wisdom –now you know why lots of dragons love to live in the sea since they’re wise creatures.
- Wood is for benevolence and nobleness.
- Fire represents power, bravery and intensity.
- As for metal, it stands for righteousness.
- Last but not least, the earth element is very representative of honesty.
The five elements are very important in the Chinese zodiac. Now that you know how the Chinese use it, it’s time for you to explore the twelve Chinese zodiac signs. Let’s start with this chart of Chinese zodiac years so you can determine what zodiac sign you are. If you don’t know your sign yet, all you need is your birth year.
Chinese zodiac is everywhere, as If someone asks you in Chinese
你属什么 nǐ shǔ shénme What is your zodiac sign?
be careful, this might be a disguised question to know your age. The best answer you can give is to tell your zodiac sign without saying the year!
Now that you know which sign you are, let’s explore the different zodiac animals in the official order to tell you more about their characteristics, and what your zodiac sign can tell you about yourself. Let’s start with the first animal in the Chinese zodiac cycle: the smart rat.
#1 Chinese zodiac sign: the Rat 鼠 shǔ
The rat is the first animal of the Chinese zodiac. People born during the year of the rat are said to be clever, smart and can easily adapt in new environments. According to the Chinese zodiac, rats are very intuitive and have a good judgement so they make perfect leaders. For the Chinese, the rat is a symbol of wealth and success. What are their flaws? Rats can’t keep secrets, as they are supposed to love gossip. They also are said to be extremely greedy when it comes to money.
The Rat’s Qualities:
The Rat’s Flaws:
- Loves gossips
- Greedy with money
#2 Chinese zodiac sign: the Ox 牛 niú
Oxes are hard-workers, deeply devoted to their work. Oxen people are very serious and make good leaders. As long as you take care of yourself. See, if you’re born under the Ox sign then you may face stress problems. Tension can lead you to depression. So be careful and take care of yourself, ok?
Your qualities as an Ox:
- Hard workers
- Good leaders
- Stress problems
- Tension, mood swings, leading to depression
#3 Chinese zodiac sign: the Tiger 虎 hǔ
Cousins of the cats, people born under the year of the Tiger are said to be charming, ambitious and very confident. They also make awesome leaders. Good news, if you’re a tiger ,you also make a good life companion. Indeed, Chinese people think that tigers are great protectors for households. Last but not least, tigers are playful beings that love challenges! Any Tiger up for a ninchallenge? Tigers versus cats, the game is on.
Be prepared for a potentially drawn out challenge, tigers are very stubborn. They also have enormous egos that need to be fed. As a tiger, you better watch out for these characteristics, to avoid fights with people.
- Good leaders and good life companion
- Love challenges
- Enormous egos
#4 Chinese zodiac sign: the Rabbit 兔 tù
So you’re a rabbit, huh? What a lovely companion you make. Rabbits are said to be very comprehensive, polite, compassionate and sincere. Everyone would love to be your friend.
With such qualities, no wonder you also have flaws to watch out for. By being very conservative and not sharing your thoughts with others, you might feel a little lonely and it could happen that you miss out on good opportunities.
Your flaws to watch:
- Very conservative
- Miss good opportunities
#5 Chinese zodiac sign: the Dragon 龙 lóng
The dragon is the most prestigious Chinese zodiac sign. Chinese parents love to have a child, a boy particularly, born under the dragon sign, as it is said that these boys will be very lucky and successful in life.
As a dragon, you have a lot of energy! Dragons are very intelligent, confident and strong. They don’t fear challenges and risks. The downside to your qualities is that some dragons may be seen as aggressive, arrogant and irritating. So watch yourself.
- Lots of energy
- Love challenges
#6 Chinese zodiac sign: the Snake 蛇 shé
Snakes are said to be very intelligent and wise. Chinese people think that snakes make great thinkers. They ponder and brood a lot but don’t say much. Snakes are viewed as philosophers of sorts:). Also, according to Chinese beliefs, snakes can born again just by shedding their skin, fascinating, huh?! As they are great thinkers, snakes are believed to be always plotting in the dark. Betrayal is one of the snakes’ main characteristics.
- Great thinkers (Philosophers)
Your snake flaws:
- Plotting in the dark
- Betray the others
#7 Chinese zodiac signs: the Horse 马 mǎ
If you’re born under the sign of a horse, then you must be a real star! Horses are said to be extremely energetic and like shining on stage. Horses want to be noticed. They have also a great sense of humour and are very athletic. However, horses tend to be very self-centered and immature. These characteristics might keep you from achieving your goals.
- Extremely energetic
- Like to shine on stage
- Great sense of humor
#8 Chinese zodiac sign: the Sheep 羊 yáng
Just so you know, the sheep zodiac sign might also be called the goat sign or the ram
The sheep is a very creative and delicate person. People born under the sheep sign are said to have an excellent defensive instinct, they can evaluate danger and avoid it. They are very quiet but prefer to stay in groups than being alone. Sheeps are also known to be very docile and naive. So if you’re a sheep, you must watch out not to be too naive. Another characteristic you need to pay attention to is the way sheep like to spend their money into fashion items. So save your money and don’t trust everyone, this is how you’ll be safe.
The sheep qualities:
- Excellent defensive instinct, can evaluate danger
The sheep flaws:
- Like to spend money into fashion items.
#9 Chinese zodiac sign: the Monkey 猴 hóu
2016 is the year of the fire monkey! If you’re born under this sign, stay focused and don’t go monkeying around while I introduce your main characteristics.
Monkeys are said to be geniuses! They are clever, witty and curious about everything. As you are born under the monkey sign, you surely have many interests and hobbies. Monkeys are fast-learners and have many crafty skills. Monkeys have a very eccentric personality that makes them very special. But the most important flaw of monkeys is that they’re said to be naughty because of their cleverness. They love to prank people but sometimes it hurts them. But most of the time, they’re truly only funny, I swear!
- Clever, witty
- Many interests and hobbies
- Crafty skills
- Like to prank people and sometimes hurt their feelings
But most of the time, they’re truly only funny, I swear!
#10 Chinese zodiac sign: the Rooster 鸡 jī
A surprising quality for roosters is that they are great storytellers. Indeed the Chinese believe roosters have good writing and public speaking skills. That’s a really important and useful quality to have in life. Roosters are also said to be loyal, honest and very popular among people! Roosters also have flaws. They like to stay under the spotlight and to show off. Don’t go and burn your wings by getting to close to the light, little roosters!
The roosters’ qualities:
- Great storytellers
- Good writing and public speaking skills
- Popular among people
- Like to show off
Don’t go and burn your wings by getting to close to the light little roosters.
#11 Chinese zodiac sign: the Dog 狗 gǒu
Dogs are said to be born with a good nature — and I’m not saying that because I was born under the dog sign– they try to avoid bad things and are interested in having a happy, quiet and peaceful life. Dogs are not selfish, they like to help others, at their expense sometimes.
Dog signs tend to lack communication skills and happen to be very stubborn. They also worry a lot and tend to be pessimistic by thinking the world is bad. So dogs reading this, remember to smile and think positive! Rendez-vous each Saturday to bring motivation and positivity back with our positive quotes on our Facebook page.
Your qualities as dogs:
- Born with good nature — and I’m not saying that because I was born under the dog sign–
- Interested in having a happy and quiet life
- Not selfish, they like to help others
- Lack of communication skills
- Worry too much
So dogs reading this, remember to smile and think positive! And I know you like positive things, so rendez-vous each Saturday to bring motivation back with our quotes on Ninchanese Facebook page.
#12 last Chinese zodiac sign: the Boar 猪 zhū
Sometimes you’ll come across the “pig” zodiac sign, but this last Zodiac sign is officially called the Boar. People use both boar and pig, so it depends on which you prefer!
The pigs’ greatest quality is that they’re peacemakers. They try everything they can to avoid conflicts between people. Boars are also very loyal, which makes them very good friends.
Because of their peacemaking quality, pigs are said to be weak and to be easily fooled by others. They are naturally innocent. Another flaw is gluttony, pigs are very excessive when it comes to eating, drinking and smoking. Keep your body healthy and avoid all these temptations.
- Avoid conflicts
- Good friends
- Easily fooled by others
Keep your body healthy and avoid all these temptations.
Final words: So what about cats?
As you know, there are twelve months in the lunar calendar, so there are only twelve animals allowed in the Chinese zodiac. During our investigation, we found out that cats originally came from Egypt and only Chinese Emperors owned cats. Cats appeared in China after the creation of the Chinese calendar (with the twelve Chinese zodiac signs), invented under the Yellow Emperor. Remember the Yellow Emperor Huángdì? He is at the origin of the Xia dynasty. Since then, the Chinese calendar has evolved.
There is also a legend that explains how cats got tricked by rats in the Chinese zodiac, which you can read in the link.
Too bad for the cats, anyway, if you’re a cat lover just like the Nincha Team, you can come and play with them here in Ninchanese and learn Chinese!
Cats can still be useful in the Chinese zodiac. Remember the Chinese expression?
你属什么? nǐ shǔ shénme? What is your zodiac sign?
Well, if you don’t want to say what’s your age or sign, try answering: What a coy way of getting out of the “how old are you” question, huh?
我属猫 wǒ shǔ māo My sign is cat
What a coy way of getting out of the “how old are you” question, huh?
Now it’s your turn! Tell us what your Chinese zodiac sign is and your elements are, we’re very curious! Do you think your personality corresponds to what the Chinese believe about your zodiac sign?
Source images: behance