Home improvement projects don't always go as planned, and using concrete is no exception. A sudden change in weather can affect drying times, unexpected rain can compromise integrity if your concrete is left uncovered, etc. And then there are things you could never foresee, such as a stray cat deciding to walk on your concrete, leaving permanent paw prints. For some homeowners, this may be an annoyance requiring repairs and extra expenses. But if you're a cat lover, it could be a blessing. Having cat prints on your footpath, for example, could be considered a charming addition to your home:

SawaShin | © PIXTA

In fact, cat-loving homeowners may even wish they could coax a cat to leave paw prints for them. But good luck getting a cat to do that on command in real life...

3D cat paw stamp from Ono Inbō

Fortunately, now there's a way of getting that look, even if you don't have a cat, thanks to a special 3D stamp made by a hanko seal maker based in Okazaki, Aichi Prefecture. Ono Inbō 小野印房 has been in business since 1898. In addition to conventional hanko seals, the current generation of Onos now running the business also offers seals with various designs, with a particular penchant for cars and cats. Actually, he has a whole lineup of whimsical cat-themed hanko designs which can be combined with your name in a stamp.

Recently, however, Mr. Ono decided to branch out into three-dimensional stamps, beginning with a cat paw stamp:

Reproduced with permission from © Ono Inbō 小野印房

This is what it looks like after a customer applied it to a new slab of concrete at the entrance to their home:

Reproduced with permission from © Ono Inbō 小野印房

Product Information

  • Name (JP): 猫の足跡(立体)
  • Translation: Cat paw print (3D)
  • Price: 5,000 JPY (incl. tax)
  • Stamp size: H 35 mm (1.37") x W 40 mm (1.57")
  • Product page to order

Notes: The size of the paw print can be adjusted to a certain degree. Please specify in the comment section when ordering. Since they were unable to change the order processing system for this item, the name section usually required for seals will also appear. It needs to be filled to process the order, so write your pet's name or anything else there.

And if you're interested in their cat hanko series, you have plenty of choices as well. Here is a screen shot from their website, to give you an idea:

Reproduced with permission from © Ono Inbō 小野印房

The Japanese government may be anxious to phase out hanko seals for business and administrative matters, but there is clearly a market for fanciful and imaginative "design stamps" for individual use. And if efforts like this are any indication, there are still new opportunities for seal and stamp makers to explore.

To see all the great hanko seal designs at Ono Inbō, visit their website here. And in case you don't have a Japanese name, their seal designs can also be made with katakana or the Roman alphabet.

By - Ben K.