Rats were long-tailed rodents.
Daikoku, the Fortune of Wealth was depicted toying with a curious little rat running about by his feet, devouring the rice Daikoku spilled everywhere he went.  As the Scorpion revered the Fortune they seen rats as lucky animals. Those who killed rats were advised to visit a temple of Daikoku and beg for forgiveness. Cats were creatures of ill omen who killed rats and angered Daikoku. 
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