Dos and Don’ts to Remember When Getting Cat Tattoos


Many of us feel that a house isn’t a home without a cat so it’s no surprise that so many people want to permanently memorialize cats on their bodies with cat tattoos — or should we say “cattoos”! Are you thinking of getting a cat tattoo? Here are some tips for getting an awesome cat tattoo, as well as some cat tattoos (and the stories behind them) from Catster readers.

Process for Getting a Tattoo:

Thinking about getting a cat tattoo? This is the process. Photography © JacobRoyQuebec | iStock / Getty Images Plus.

  1. Decide on the idea you have for the tattoo. You don’t need to have anything drawn up (that’s what the tattoo artist is for) but have an idea of what you want before meeting with an artist.
  2. Research tattoo artists and find one whose work you like.
  3. Set up a consultation appointment. Bring lots of pictures and talk with the artist about what you want.
  4. Schedule the tattoo (this might be the same day as the consultation but often isn’t).
  5. Drink plenty of water and eat a good meal before your appointment.
  6. During your appointment, make sure you are completely happy with the drawing your artist has created, as well as the stencil placement.
  7. Sit back and let the artist make cats a permanent part of your body!

Dos for Getting Cat Tattoos:

  1. Make sure you love the design. It’s going to be on your body forever.
  2. Research artists. Ask people with tattoos you like about who did them, follow artists online, and look at different artist styles and portfolios. Someone could be great at doing realistic tattoos, but they might not be for you if you want a cartoon illustration of your cat.
  3. Only go to shops with good reputations where the artists are creating tattoos you like.
  4. Bring lots of pictures of your cat to the consultation, as well as any other reference materials to inspire your tattoo design.
  5. Listen to your artist about size recommendations — in order to age well, tattoos shouldn’t be super tiny.
  6. Tip your tattoo artist. Twenty-percent is the standard minimum tip for tattoo artists.

Don’ts for Getting Cat Tattoos:

  1. Avoid taking pain medication or consuming alcohol before you get your tattoo. Yes, it hurts, but that’s part of the process and the pain is only temporary.
  2. Don’t go to the cheapest tattoo shop. You may get what you pay for, unfortunately.

Personal Stories from Readers with Cat Tattoos

Michelle Matthews

Michelle Matthews' cat tattoo.

Michelle Matthews’ cat tattoo. Photography courtesy Michelle Matthews.

“These are two of my three babies, Otis and Franny. The artist is Amelia Rose, @ameliarosetattoo on Instagram, who is based in L.A. I think cats are beautiful, especially my cats, and I wanted to pay homage to that! They are my babies.”

Lucian Kahn

Lucian Kahn's cat tattoo.

Lucian Kahn’s cat tattoo. Photography courtesy Lucian Kahn.

“This is my cat Beastie, tattoo by Henbo at Gristle Tattoo in Williamsburg [Brooklyn]. I just love my cat!”

Aidyn B.

Aidyn B.'s cat tattoo.

Aidyn B.’s cat tattoo. Photography courtesy Aidyn B.

“I have a ‘multi’ memorial tattoo (cattoo) on my wrist. It’s a tribute to my best friend with the initials B.B. who died in 2016, a tribute to my beloved black kitty Devin who died in 2017 with a background of green flames to represent his eyes, and [a tribute to] the mental health/mental illness awareness semi-colon because it’s a part of my everyday existence, and something that my friend and I connected so naturally about. It was our baseline conversation level.”

Ariel Gore

Ariel Gore's cat tattoo.

Ariel Gore’s cat tattoo. Photography courtesy Ariel Gore.

“I had written the novel We Were Witches and Suki Boyton at the Feminist Press drew a cat for the cover, and it was our cat, Maxine! Like, Suki just channeled her image. So, it was cool to get the tattoo to immortalize both my new book and Maxine, who is seriously ancient now — 18 years old.”

Erin Fae

Erin Fae's cat tattoos.

Erin Fae’s cat tattoos. Photography courtesy Erin Fae.

“My cat tattoos are of Meredith Grey Swift and Olivia Benson Swift, Taylor Swift’s cats. I figured this was a subtle way to have a Taylor Swift fan tattoo and also get some cat tattoos.”

Tell us: Do you have any cat tattoos? Let us know about them in the comments!

Thumbnail: Photography © alexandrum01 | iStock / Getty Images Plus.

Sassafras Lowrey is an award-winning author whose novels have been honored by the Lambda Literary Foundation and the American Library Association. Sassafras is a Certified Trick Dog Instructor and assists with dog agility classes. She lives and writes in Brooklyn with her partner, a senior Chihuahua mix, a rescued Shepherd mix, a Newfoundland puppy, two bossy cats and a semi-feral kitten. Learn more at

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