Cats have a certain notoriety that has been brought about by wives tales, myths, and by their own nature. They are a symbol of curiosity, independence and sensuality. Not to mention that cats are said to have nine lives, so they are also heavily linked to spirituality and rebirth. Cat tattoos tend to express these traits, and how they connect to their wearer.
Many cat tattoos feature a cartoon image of a black cat, these depictions vary; however, one of the most popular designs is a filled-in outline of a black cat with exaggerated features. This image often has a large, oblong head with small ears and long, colored eyes. The body usually has a long, sleek tail and legs and a curved torso. This depiction usually stands alone, however, there are occasionally dashes of colorful images thrown in for effect such as a bright red bow around its neck, a blue studded collar; it may even be set amongst a burgundy silk pillow, or tiger striped rug.
Given the vast cultural history these felines enjoy, cat tattoos may also have an exotic flair. In Egypt, cats are highly revered, and many Egyptian gods share a link with them. The goddess Bast is best known for her association with cats, and can be depicted in tattoo art as a stately female figure with the head of a cat. This figure can be placed spread before the sun, or battling a serpent before the sun god. Other examples that can easily be used in cat tattoos are the Norse goddess Freya, who was pulled by a magnificent chariot that was driven by two large, gray cats (a gift from Thor), and that of the maneki neko (or ‘beckoning cat’), which — depending on its color — is said to bring a variety of luck. A white maneki neko means success, a black one health, gold will bring riches, etc. Their paws also carry meaning; a raised right paw is an invitation to wealth and fortune, left is a welcoming sign, and both paws is a sign of protection to all things domestic.
Another very popular design for cat tattoos is the portrait. These tend to be translated from pictures of the wearer’s own pets, but on occasion are simply a charming picture of the wearer’s favorite breed.
Cats have always been fascinating creatures — whether you love them, or you hate them, you cannot deny all of their distinctive and mysterious qualities.