Cats are a classic pet. They’ve been kept for hundreds of years as mouse catchers, familiars, and even spiritual leaders.
But saying cats have exploded in popularity is an understatement.
Since the rise of visual social media platforms, we’ve gone paw-sitively cat crazy.
It’s not enough for people to have their own cats, now they can follow other people’s cats online.
Another juggernaut in the age of social media is tattoos.
People love showing off their new ink, and it’s become less of a big deal to get tattoos just for fun.
Tattoos can act as a kind of scrapbook, a way to show off your interests.
Naturally, cat tattoos have skyrocketed in popularity as these two elements work together.
Cat tattoos are cool because cats are visually appealing.
They’re as cute and cuddly as they are mysterious and majestic.
They inspire cartoony imagery, or something a little more regal.
How did these animals get into our homes, and why do we love them so much?
Cat Domestication – How Did We Get Pet Cats?
Most house cats are descendants of the African Wildcat.
Unlike dogs, who have been domesticated into docile housemates, cats maintain most of their wild nature.
They still aren’t suited to indoor life, which is why they won’t respect your things.
There’s something funny about the audacity of a cat.
You provide them with shelter and food, and they disrespect you at every turn.
Cat Symbolism – Reasons People Love Cat Tattoos
Cats have their fair share of curious traits.
They are, for the most part, untameable.
They will ruin your couch, knock over your knick-knacks, and eat your plants.
Yet, they’re such a popular pet people are immortalizing them in tattoo form. Why?
We’re Jealous of Cats
Humans have an innate desire to build community.
We want to impress each other.
We also tend to compete with each other, so we’re often comparing someone else’s successes to our own.
Cats are not concerned with any of that. They are solitary animals.
When there are other cats around they may form a social structure to obtain food.
But they’re generally pretty content to keep to themselves.
A cat does not do anything it doesn’t want to do.
It acts on its own impulses and has its own code of ethics.
Trying to keep a cat from doing something is a really difficult task.
Where a dog thrives on positive reinforcement, a cat is clever enough to know that you’ll care for them either way.
People get cat tattoos because, psychologically, they’d like a bit of that attitude.
A cat tattoo can remind you not to care so much what other people think.
Cats Help with Mental Health Issues
Sometimes a cat tattoo is an homage to a creature who saved your life.
In general, a pet can greatly improve your mental health.
When playing with an animal, your oxytocin levels increase, giving you a warm fuzzy feeling.
You also get a rush of mood-boosting serotonin and dopamine.
Cats, in particular, are excellent therapy animals.
They’re extremely intuitive, and they walk away from uncomfortable situations.
For people who need to learn to establish healthy boundaries, this is helpful.
They’re also pretty low maintenance due to their independent streak.
So a cat won’t drain your physical or mental energy.
Cats are Magical
Cats are popular companions for witches.
Witchcraft, being a nature-based tradition, is friendly to all the earth’s creatures.
But a cat is especially helpful around the house, because it keeps pests away.
For a person who is growing herbs for plant-based medicine, a cat would be useful.
They can aid in the fight against garden intruders.
A witch believes that her pets enhance her magic, and help her stay in touch with the divine.
Do you have a witchy side?
A cat tattoo may be the perfect way to express your magic.
They’re Mini Gods
The Ancient Egyptians did not, as pop culture would have you believe, worship cats.
But they did believe they were fluffy containers for divine energy.
Cats were revered because snakes were such a threat at the time.
They would fearlessly hunt the slithering intruders.
Cats were also just interesting.
They move in a slinky way, and they have captivating eyes.
If you came across one without ever having seen a meme, you may think you were meeting a divine creature too.
Pet cats were not seen as a frivolity in Ancient Egypt.
Bringing one into your home was a big deal.
If you abused your cat, it was an offense punishable by death.
When a cat died in Egypt, they would be mummified with as much respect as any important human.
The cat owner would shave their eyebrows off, and commit to mourning their loss until the hair grew back.
Reclaiming the Crazy Cat Person
A cat tattoo can be a political statement.
For so long, unmarried women with cats had a negative stigma attached to them.
People would imply that cats were her only companions, and she was unfit for a human relationship.
Women who like cats or have multiple cats are sometimes called “crazy cat ladies.”
Men are part of the cat stereotypes too.
They used to be thought of as less masculine if they kept cats in the house.
It’s funny how many gender politics are wrapped up in this fuzzy feline’s reputation.
But with modern thoughts on gender come modern thoughts on cat ownership.
These days, people are very busy.
Many are career-driven and lead busy lives.
For a person on the go, a cat’s solitary nature makes them a perfect pal.
They’ll be there to hop into bed and snuggle up after a long day, but they don’t need you to be home all the time.
Having children is not practical for some people.
Many of today’s adults are choosing not to have kids, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a care-giving streak.
Cats give you a feeling of family when you aren’t ready to expand yours.
Cat tattoos can be a symbol of your choice to stay independent, and not worry so much about the “old maid” stereotype.
Main Themes in Cat Tattoos
So you’ve decided you’d like a cat tattoo.
The possibilities are open!
Get creative and let your cat love be your guide.
Here are some popular cat tattoo ideas:
Cat Tribute Tattoos
Maybe your favorite feline has recently passed away.
Maybe you want to celebrate them while they’re still around.
A portrait of your cat can be a powerful image.
You could bring your tattoo artist a special photo and tell them a bit about your pet.
They’ll be able to capture their essence, and then your kitty stays by your side forever.
These are generally done portrait style, but can be adapted to suit your personality.
Paw Print Tattoos
If you want something smaller with less detail, a paw print tattoo is a nice way to go.
It shows off your love of cats, but can hide discreetly anywhere on your body.
Cat lovers live to pay homage to famous felines.
You might consider Luna and Artemis from Sailor Moon, Hello Kitty, or Felix the cat for some retro flair.
Cat & Lettering Tattoos
Any perfect cat portrait needs to be finished off with their name (or some funny dialogue to match).
Whether you want to add some fresh and funky lettering tattoo to your cat tattoo to remember their name or add your own cartoon style lettering and comic relief, lettering pairs perfectly with cat tattoos for a personal and creative touch to an already personal and creative tattoo!
Cat Tattoo Designs
Have we said a meowthful?
Cats are symbols of independence, mystery, healthy boundaries, and intuition.
Inspired to immortalize your companion?
Check out our cat tattoo gallery to find your purrfect match!
Realistic Cat Tattoos
Cats have been honorable guardians and pets since the beginning of time.
A realistic cat tattoo is the perfect way of bringing a guardian cat with you everywhere that is both powerful, comforting, and wise.
A realistic cat tattoo is a good way to memorialize a beloved past pet cat or to carry a famous cat of your own with you into life.
Realistic Black & Grey Cat Tattoos
Cats are standout options as black and grey tattoo options because the shading and design range you can get with black and grey allow you to put incredible detail into every detail of your cat’s figure, from its fur to its whiskers and even their eyes.
A black and grey cat tattoo symbolizes a fierce, fearless, and loving cat that can be a beacon of protection and warmth for you to carry with you!
Black-work Cat Tattoos
Black cats have a mythology all their own as powerful protectors and magical guardians of the world.
They are considered bringers of bad luck by some people, but many people actually view black cats as the ultimate protector and symbol of strength.
A black-work cat tattoo allows you to select your favorite Black Cat Guardian and carry them with you always as a symbol of strength and protection.
Geometric Cat Tattoos
A cat is a powerful symbol of protection and beauty, considered to be one of the most majestic and stately animals in nature.
A geometric cat tattoo is the perfect way to honor the symmetry and majesty of the cat through its shapely and statuesque appearance.
The geometric power and performance of the cat is carefully laid out and designed in these elegant and well-designed geometric tattoos that show both their strength and grace.
Minimalist Cat Tattoos
Minimalist cat tattoos work to provide simple and powerful illustrations with the vibrancy, creativity, and curiosity of cats.
A minimalist cat tattoo provides a simple and sweet way to capture a cat in their prime.
However you choose to remember and experience your cat, these sweet designs are a great way to remember your cute little kitty in a personal way!
Illustrative Cat Tattoos
For the cat owner who wants to take their love of cats to the next level, an illustrative cat tattoo is the perfect choice.
An illustrative tattoo features a striking color palette, a striking profile or portrait, and piercing faces and fierce stares.
An illustrative cat tattoo is a statuesque and powerful statement that allows you to intimidate anyone who comes into contact with you.
Graphic Cat Tattoos
Graphic tattoos bring in elements of precise design, geometric shape, and elegant flow and line shading.
The cat, already a statuesque and powerful figure, becomes even more incredible as a powerful tattoo with graphic design and imagery.
A graphic cat tattoo is the perfect example of precision, design, and detail that stuns as much as the piercing gaze of the cat.
Watercolor Cat Tattoos
Want a cat that’s a little less literal?
A watercolor cat tattoo can give you the impression of a cat, but make it a little more artsy and mysterious.
Go to watercolor tattoo for more!
Neo-traditional Cat Tattoos
Neo-traditional tattoos bring together modern outlines, fresh color palettes, and exciting props and additional design elements that bring contemporary art and design into the focus.
A Neo-traditional cat tattoo helps to emphasize the young, exciting, and ever-evolving image of the cat, making this the perfect homage to a modern cat owner who loves art, design, and feline friends.
Single Needle Cat Tattoos
A single needle cat tattoo adds additional delicate design to an already perfectly detailed and freshly designed tattoo.
A single needle tattoo uses just one main tattoo needle to do the outlining, shading, and color addition of your tattoo.
With a single needle, you can get much finer detail, especially in fur, whiskers, and more.
A single needle cat tattoo is the perfect way to emphasize the personal delicate details of your cat and to emphasize the personal significance of your feline friend.
New School Cat Tattoos
Put a postmodern spin on your favorite cat friends with a New School tattoo.
New School tattoos bring out brash and bold color palettes as well as over-sized, often caricatured drawings or portraits of their subjects.
A New School cat tattoo adds a fresh spin to cat tattoos with their graphic imagery and bold design and color choices.
Contemporary Cat Tattoos
If you want a non traditional cat tattoo that stands out from all the rest, a contemporary cat tattoo is likely the perfect choice for you.
Blending fresh designs, pastel colors, fun modern trends, and pretty skylines into your cat tattoo is a great way to introduce contemporary themes and colors into your cat tattoo and create the perfect modern homage to cats and kittens.
Cat Tattoo Ideas
If you’ve decided on your favorite cat tattoo style, one of the final steps is to pick out a specific pose or idea in order to create the perfect personal cat design.
Whether you’re designing a specific tattoo style based on your beloved pet or looking to create your own unique cat tattoo spin, there are plenty of options available to help you pick out the perfect design!
Sleeping Cat Tattoos
A sleeping cat is one of the sweetest and most innocent cats you can find.
A sweet sleeping cat tattoo might represent the innocence, purity, and sentimentality of a sweet and sleeping cat that seems to appeal to everyone.
It might also be the perfect tattoo for a lazy or napping person that feels drawn to resting and napping in the sun!
Small Cat Tattoos
A small cat makes for the perfect playmate tattoo that can be put anywhere on your body for a small and subtle yet beautiful cat tattoo.
This small little feline friend could be playful, sweet, sleeping, or shy, and can be placed almost anywhere on your body.
You can discover the excitement and personality of your cat with a small cat tattoo that perfectly memorializes a beloved cat.
Simple Cat Tattoos
Simple cat tattoos are fun, basic outlines that provide the illusion of feline grace and play anywhere with simple and sweet tattoos.
These basic silhouettes and designs allow you plenty of artistic freedom with how you choose to design your cat tattoo, whether it’s just the silhouette of your cat or a full on design with other elements involved.
A simple cat tattoo is a great way to remember sweet, simple, and cute cats everywhere!
Cat Tattoos with Flower Tattoos
Cats and flowers may not be the best of friends in real life, but they both make great options for tattoo designs!
Both represent a beauty, grace, and statuesque coloring and stance that can be seen in real life or in artistic form.
A cat with a flower tattoo might represent a love of nature and beauty as well as the love of feline and floral grace!
Cat Tattoo Artists