The human love affair with these furry felines goes back to the dawn of our civilization.
Numerous archaeological expeditions have unearthed Stone Age graves with cats snuggled beside their deceased owners. To this day, many cat owners simply can't bear to part with their beloved tabby, no matter what the circumstance may be.
It is no surprise that the word "cat" comes to us from the ancient Egyptian
name for their favorite pet, "caute". Egyptians were devout cat worshippers and believed that the animal was an extension of the Moon goddess, Bastet
. She was not only the guardian of the pharaoh and of Lower Egypt, but also the Divine Mother and a warrior goddess who provided for her beloved subjects. In many ways, the Egyptians saw cats as a representation of their protector goddess because cats are known for their expert hunting skills, which was used to protect the ancient Egyptian food supplies from vermin and pests.
Cats were so revered in ancient Egypt that killing one was a crime punishable by death
. The pages of history record the tragic and brutal death of a man at the hands of an angry mob after he accidentally killed his own cat. Even an official pardon from the pharaoh, Ptolemy XII
, was not enough to save this poor man from his doomed fate.
The idea of linking cats with hunting, protection, and motherhood
also crossed over into ancient Rome and cats became the symbol of the goddess Diana
. In ancient Rome, having a pet cat was believed to bring fortune to everyone in the household and guarantee domestic bliss. Even the Norse
picked up on this idea. Their fertility goddess, Freyja
, was not only known for her beauty, elegance, gracefulness, and intellect, she was also famous for being a fierce warrior who guarded and protected her people. It's no wonder why cats are seen as a symbol of Feminine Power and Beauty.
Felines have had a long association with Witchcraft and Paganism in Europe
, thanks in part to the importation of ideas from the ancient Egyptians and Romans. Diana, the Moon goddess, became a symbol of pagans and witches in the Middle Ages. However, at a time when the atmosphere was rife with religious suppression, free thought, creative expression, and being a practicing pagan were deemed to be unlawful and an abomination to all things sanctioned by law. Alternative ideas were thought to be the work of satanic forces, and all symbols associated with said ideas were seen as evil. Sadly, the cat (especially the black cat) became known as messengers of the Devil and many of the superstitions that we still hold close to our hearts today, came from the religious stagnation of the Middle Ages. But one look at the lovable face of your tabby is enough to tell you that there's nothing evil about him.
Cats are free-spirited animals that show a sense of independence and intellect that is rarely seen in the animal world. Over the centuries, there have been myths that praise the furry felines for their ability to do as they please. Domestic cats are funny creatures; one minute they are purring at your feet in an attempt to get a belly rub, then the next, they'll have nothing to do with you. They can be lovable, sweet, and snooty all in the space of a nanosecond. The shifting moods of a cat have sparked many legends about the shape shifting abilities of the animal. According to the legends, cats shape shift and walk freely between physical and spiritual realms, bringing messages to deceased loved ones. In Japan, legend has it that a cat can "shift" the demeanor of a woman
, accounting for why the fairer sex is often seen as being unpredictable and secretive. For many women, this link with the furry felines serves as a compliment and a warning to those who'd try to dominate or control them. Simply put, you can't control a free spirit.
It may surprise you to know that cats have saved countless human lives over the centuries. In WWI and WWII, there were reports of cats being used on the battlefields to protect soldiers from dangerous poison gas
and there have been several attempts by the militaries of different countries to train cats for military operations
. In the end, all attempts failed because the military strategists learned one key rule…
…you simply can't control a cat!
The Meaning of Cat Tattoos
Cats are more than just our furry, feline friends. They symbolize a variety of traits
- Feminine Power
- Luck and Prosperity
- Mystery and Secrets
- Spirituality and a connection with the Divine
- A link with the Afterlife
- Intelligence and Intuition
- Elegance and Refinement
Cat Tattoo Variations
Whether you want a Lucky Cat Tattoo, an image of a Fat Cat, or even Felix the Cat on your body, these types of tattoos come in a variety of shapes, colors, and forms.
These designs can represent your favorite cartoon characters, like Snagglepuss
, or incorporate the spiritual elements of Tribal Tattoos. Most images mimic a cat's natural coloration (black, white, amber, or mottled patterns) and are sometimes done in honor of a beloved family pet.
Black Cat Tattoos
When you see a black cat, images of witches, old brooms, and steaming black caldrons come to mind. Black Cats are, in general, associated with changing fortunes and many folklore myths contain warnings against disturbing the peace of a black cat. This idea comes down from the Celtic tradition
and in the days of the Celts, black cats were sacrificed as a way to ward off evil. For some, a black cat is a harbinger of destruction that stalks the night and should be avoided at all costs, while for others, it is the cat's black color makes it enchanting, mysterious, and intriguing. Black Cat Tattoos are symbols of Femininity, Mystery, and reserved Power because of the animal's close association with the unknown and Paganism.
Cat Paw Tattoos
Paw prints represent an emotional or mental journey through a difficult time. They symbolize progress, and the need to move forward in life. Ever wonder why many Japanese and Chinese places of business have little statuettes of cats with a raised front paw? In Asian cultures, this is an old symbol of prosperity and good fortune that dates back centuries to the legend of Maneki Neko
. Although there are several version of the myth, all stories center on the theme of a poor person suddenly finding wealth after being kind to a cat that raised its front paw to him. Cat Paw Tattoos represent Prosperity, Good Fortune, and Progress.
Cat Skull Tattoos
have a long history with Death, Destruction, and Disease. The mere image of one brings on the Willies and makes many people feel uncomfortable. Given the animal's strong link with the Afterlife, Cat Skull Tattoos are seen as a more subtle way of symbolizing your understanding and acceptance of the inevitable. In a sense, it is a sign of bravery because it shows that you aren't afraid to face your mortality.
Cat Eye Tattoos
The famous American sculptor, Hiram Powers
, once said "The eye is the window of the soul…The intellect, the will, are seen in the eye…" When it comes to cats, no truer statement has ever been said throughout history. A cat's eye is often seen as a symbol of Intellect, Wisdom, and a conduit to the Divine. It is believed to be an object of Mysticism and Intrigue that brings those who have this symbol closer to the elements of the Afterlife. Cat Eye Tattoos represent your ability to see things for more than what they are. You can analyze a situation and view every action as an extension of something greater.
A Cat Tattoo speaks volumes about your personality.
It tells the world that you are a deeply spiritual person who has a fire and flair for the dramatic and the exotic. The right tattoo design can turn your artwork into a masterpiece, so it is important to spend enough time figuring out what elements work best for your skin and body type, as well as the message that you are trying to bring across. Your tattoo design options are only limited by the depth of your imagination, so feel free to get creative. When it comes to being inspired and getting ideas, our team of professional artists can help. Just visit our design page at www.itattoodesigns.com and take advantage of our Custom Tattoo Service
. We'd be happy to help you create an unforgettable design.