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 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 Black & Grey Tattoos
Realistic Cat Tattoos
Black-work Cat Tattoos
Geometric Cat Tattoos
Minimalist Cat Tattoos
Illustrative Cat Tattoos
Graphic Cat Tattoos
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
Single Needle Tattoos
New School Tattoos
Contemporary Cat Tattoos
Cat Tattoo Ideas
Sleeping Cat Tattoos
Small Cat Tattoos
Simple Cat Tattoos
Cat Tattoos with Flower Tattoos
Cat & Lettering Tattoos
Cat Tattoo Artists
Ryan Ashley DiCristina