Japanese raccoon dogs, or tanuki as they’re known over here, are animals with great significance in Japanese folk-lore. Among their many supernatural attributes such as giant scrota and swift speeds, the tanuki are also known for their purported shapeshifting abilities.

And though the above picture clearly dispels the size of their manhood, there appears to be some truth to their art of disguise. As the Twitter user who posted the photo explains, this little guy is actually pretending to be a stray cat so he can get some of the food laid out for him.

The Twitter post explains the backstory behind the unusual candidness of these often timid wild creatures and shows a woman feeding and, surprisingly, petting it.

“A few years ago there was a power struggle in the neighborhood between feral cats and civets. Although at one time civets were considerably dominant, recently stray cats have been making a comeback.”
“In Katsushika-Ku Adachi, on the Arakawa River, tanukis and stray cats now coexist and never interfere with each other. Here’s a photo of a tanuki going to get food by pretending to be a cat. (However, the lady feeding it knows very well it is a tanuki named ‘Tanukichi.’)”
[tweet https://twitter.com/g_y_o_g_y_o/status/638450935115595780 align=center]

It would seem that a full-blown civet war had erupted in the region, but was downgraded to a civet disturbance possibly after an unlikely alliance was forged between the cats and tanukis. Also, “Tanukichi” is a popular pun combining “tanuki” and “kichi” which means good fortune. It is also widely known as the Japanese name for Tom Nook of Animal Crossing fame.

After receiving a few thousand favorites and retweets, she decided to post another shot of Tanukichi with a few more details.

“Here’s another shot since it’s been RT and favorited by many people.  Tanukichi is in a pack of about 5 or 6. Tanukis are shy at night but come out in front of people during the day for some reason.”
[tweet https://twitter.com/g_y_o_g_y_o/status/638728503471398912 align=center]

Commenters were equally enamored by Tanukichi’s antics and general demeanor.

“What an adorable cat!”
“Tanuki never let people touch them! That lady is the chosen one!”
“Cute, but you really shouldn’t feed them.”
“He checking to see if you’ve paid off that loan yet.”
“I can’t tell if it’s a cat or a tanuki but it’s definitely cute.”

See, even netizens are beguiled by the tanuki’s powers of deception. So next time a coworker stops by your desk to borrow a dish of popcorn, take a second look. It might just be one of these bean-shaped furry scamps pulling a fast one on you!

Source: Twitter/@g_y_o_g_y_o via Hamusoku (Japanese)