This animal papercraft is a kotatsu cat from yamaha papercraft. The kotatsu is a low table with a heater underneath and covered by a thick blanket, and still a common sight in Japanese homes during the winter. Sitting tucked into a kotatsu is one of the delights of a Japanese winter. The kotatsu dates back to the Muromachi period, when the dying embers of a sunken hearth were wrapped in paper jackets and covered by a frame with a blanket over the top to create a foot-warmer. In the Edo period, the embers were placed in ceramic containers to make the kotatsu moveable, and then in the 1950s, electric heaters arrived. The heat source has changed over time, but the basic concept has been retained for hundreds of years, making this heating appliance a true part of Japan's tradition.
Cats are like humans. In the cold of winter, they look for somewhere warm. In the past, kitchens had an enclosed, solid-fuel cooking stove called a kamado. Cats looking for somewhere warm were attracted to the kamado by the heat remaining after the fire had gone out, and became covered in ash as they warmed up. The cat settling comfortably in the kamado was such a familiar sight in winter that haiku poets used the phrase "kamado neko" (stove cat) as a winter kigo, a keyword evoking thoughts of winter.
On cold winter evenings, cats like to find a warm spot near people to curl up. Whether a kamado or a kotatsu, this has always been a heart-warming sight.[via yamaha papercraft]