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Feline Tattoos

Let's face it, there's no middle ground when it comes to the age old conflict between cats and dogs; you are either a die-hard cat lover or a dog disciple. But is there a particular reason for our love affair with these furry felines?

From the earliest days of humanity, we've made tireless efforts to tame almost every animal that we've encountered as a species, but nothing beats to deep love and understanding that we've developed for our moody house cat. Historians believe that cats were first domesticated in what is now modern day Cyprus from as early as 9500 B.C., but the practice of keeping a cat as a house pet only became common place in ancient Egypt at around 3600 B.C.. The spread of Roman Empire introduced this concept to much of Europe and Asia, and thanks to the adventures of seafaring nations like England, France, Spain, and Portugal, the New World fell in love with the house cat. Cats became associated with good luck, as such, many sailors carried a tabby or two on their voyages to ensure a safe journey.

Ancient Egyptians revered the cat as the earthly incarnation of the goddess, Bastet. As the goddess of both the Sun and the Moon, she was a being of dual personalities and was often depicted as both a docile cat or as a warrior lioness. From this mindset, we have inherited the concept that our little house cat has within him a roaring lion. Bastet's dual nature represented the complex personality of cats in general; one minute your sweetie, Felix, is a fun loving feline, and the next, he's channeling Grumpy Cat Jr. or a wild beast on the Serengeti.

The feline family is a large one and each member brings to the table an interesting history. Since the dawn of civilization, felines have been associated with the spirit world. The common belief that persists - even to this day - is that cats are vital bridges between the physical and spiritual planes. Lions, Tigers, Panthers, and domestic cats were revered by indigenous tribes and were usually given offerings of food and a healthy dose of respect in an attempt to appease the gods and the spirits of the ancestors. In a sense, Abrahamic religions like Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and Rastafarianism, hold true to this idea. All of these religions teach the story of Jacob, the Lion of Judah and father of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. Jacob is credited with engendering the Israelite identity and his tribe is often depicted as a powerful lion. To this day, many persons of these faiths admire and respect the King of the Jungle as a symbol of God's blessings and power.

Like most mammals, felines are known to be doting mothers and protectors, making them a wonderful symbol of Motherhood and Feminine Strength. Mama Cats are far from being easy push-overs and they'll engage in vicious fights in defense of their families and little ones. Big cats are also seen as erotic beings and vivacious vixens. Women, who are self confident and highly independent, see themselves as being the person in charge of it all and often channel their inner sexy feline with a cat tattoo. They are complex and powerful, just like their cat counterparts.

But the relationship between humans and felines has become a rather rocky one. Big cats are often targeted for their reported medicinal benefits. Practitioners of ancient Chinese folk medicine engage in the art of using natural ingredients to cure various ailments and believe that some of the most potent aphrodisiacs can only be derived from the body parts of tigers. This concept is responsible for the phrase, "You're a tiger in bed!" Countless poachers have spent their time and energy hunting these animals in order to feed the demand for tiger-based aphrodisiacs.

Due to loss of habitat and out of control hunting practices, many big cats live under the threat of being permanently removed from the pages of history. Big cats make exotic pets and there is a booming illegal global market for species that are on the verge of extinction. In parts of India, Indonesia, and even all across the Americas, there has been an increase in the number of reported cases of dangerous encounters between felines and humans because humans continue to encroach on vast swaths of the animal's territory. Sometimes, these encounters sadly turn deadly for both species. Thankfully, humans are slowly starting to realize the error of their ways. Conservation groups worldwide are making a concerted effort to save many species of big cats whose survival is currently under threat.

You don't have to be a cat lover to enjoy the beauty of a great Cat Tattoo. Felines are fantastic creatures that should not be underestimated and a Feline Tattoo is a great way to show the world that you are much more than you seem.

The Meaning of Feline Tattoos

The feline family embodies a variety of traits, depending on the type of animal being shown in the tattoo design. These characteristics include:

  • Motherhood and Fertility
  • Leadership
  • Power
  • Strength
  • Curiosity and Intelligence
  • Nobility and Royalty.
  • A deep spiritual connection with the Divine
  • Intrigue and Mystery
  • Guidance and Protection
  • Sensuality and Desire
  • Independence and Freedom

Feline Tattoo Variations

Tattoos of cats are some of the most popular designs across the entire globe. The tattoos are usually gender specific; men often get images of powerful felines like Lions, Panthers, or Pumas, whereas the small and sleek designs of Cats (domesticated), Cheetahs, and Jaguars tend to bring out a woman's sensuous side. Popular Feline Tattoo variations include:

Cat Tattoos

There's much more to your furry little feline friend than meets the eye; he has divine lineage. Since ancient times, many cultures have held on to the belief that cats are guides to the afterlife. Ancient Celtic and Egyptian households had special places reserved for the family cat and in ancient Rome, a cat in the home was a sign of domestic bliss and a protector against evil spirits. Beloved cats were buried with their owners in an effort to make the transition of loved ones to the other side much smoother. Unlike dogs, cats are free spirited, independent divas, that can just as easily ignore you as they can snuggle up right next to you. Cat Tattoos are a tip of the hat to your inner diva and uninhibited, 'wild child' persona.

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Cheetah Tattoos

They may be the smallest of the big cats, but Cheetahs are by no means the least popular. Their lightning quick speeds and graceful motions means that they have won admiration and respect. Since the days of ancient Egypt, cheetahs have been a sign of nobility and high status. The late Ethiopian Emperor and messianic figure for Rastafarians worldwide, Haile Selassie I, was often photographed with a cheetah by his side and in Africa, robes made from cheetah skins are reserved only for tribal chieftains and kings. Cheetah Tattoos embody Nobility, Determination, Persistence, and of course, Speed. The fastest man on Earth, Usain Bolt, is no match for the quick and nimble animal that is able to clock, on average, a whopping 75 mph and can accelerate to that speed from 0 mph in 5 seconds flat. Let's see you try that, Usain!

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Jaguar Tattoos

In Mesoamerican culture, the Jaguar was, and still is, the revered Spirit of the Forest. It was the embodiment of Bravery, Strength, and Power in numerous tribes across the Americas and Asia. The Aztecs had a regimen of dedicated and highly skilled warriors known as the Jaguar Knights, who can be viewed as being the Mesoamerican version of modern day elite Navy Seals. Jaguars are renowned for their grace and breathtaking beauty, and this fact is the inspiration behind the use of the cat as the marketing name for several luxury brands including the high end car company, Jaguar. Jaguar Tattoos embody Power, Strength, Courage, Grace, Beauty, and are a sign that you ooze elegance and sophistication.

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Leopard Tattoos

A leopard might not be able to change its spots, but nothing is stopping you from incorporating a few leopard-styled markings into your own body art. From the majestic amphitheatres of ancient Rome to the breathtaking plains of Africa, leopards have had a long history as a fearsome warrior and a religious icon. Leopards are solitary animals, as such, they have an air of mysticism surrounding them. They are emblems of Nobility and representatives of the Divine, which accounts for why many spiritual leaders and tribal chieftains wear leopard skin robes as a sign of their rank in society. Leopard Tattoos represent reserved Power, Strength, Nobility, and Mystery.

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Lion Tattoos

The Lion is the King of the Jungle and with good reason! Every animal within earshot of his mighty roar cowers in fear and his predatory skills are unmatched across the open spaces of the African Savannah. A lion is a symbol of Authority, Dominance, Courage, and Masculine Strength, and is seen by some as a creature of the Sun and an emblem of Power and Passion. They are the animal totems for various religious groups like various Jewish sects, Rastafarians, and the Ethiopian Orthodox, who see themselves as being descendants of the Twelve Tribes of Israel and the all powerful Conquering Lion of Judah.

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Lioness Tattoos

Every king must have a strong queen by his side. A Lioness is powerful, untamable, and viciously ruthless, but when it comes to her family, she can be a gentle soul. In the wild, a pride is composed mostly of females, all of whom are at the beck and call of a matriarch. The only other creature that is of a higher rank than the matriarch is the pride's dominant male. In contrast to their male counterparts, many persons see lionesses as animals of the Moon and believe that they embody a calm, rational approach to life. Lioness Tattoos are symbols of Nobility, Motherhood, ancient Wisdom, Protection, and strong family ties.

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Panther Tattoos

A Panther is a creature of intrigue. Their image evokes an air of secrecy and quiet power. Unlike their showy cousins, the Lions, panthers are quiet and reserved, making them undeniably deadly. Due to its low key nature, this animal totem is seen as a symbol of Spirituality, Intuition, and Mysticism. Panther Tattoos are reserved for persons who, despite their quiet and seemingly shy personality, can become deadly if provoked.

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Puma Tattoos

Like their Panther cousins, Pumas (also known as Cougars or Mountain Lions) are rarely seen and almost never heard of. They are athletic and agile, yet for the most part, they spend their time taking note of everything around them. Persons who identify with the Puma are extremely observant, patient, and stealthy in their movements, but when the moment calls for action, they can easily strike without warning. Like most big cats, Pumas are fiercely protective of their territory and their young. Puma Tattoos embody Patience, Intuition, Observation, and Protection.

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Tiger Tattoos

To be a great lover, you must be a tiger in bed. Tigers are ferocious and sensual, which may explain why their body parts are used in many ancient love potions and all natural aphrodisiac concoctions. They are the ultimate symbols of wild, untamable power and are driven by instincts and passion. Tiger persons aren't held back by rules or inhibitions. Throughout much of Asia, Tigers are emblems of unimaginable destruction. There are countless folklore tales of tigers wreaking havoc on the lives of villagers and farmers. Tiger Tattoos represent your wild side and show the world that you are uninhibited.

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You don't have to be Da Vinci's apprentice in order to create a fantastic Cat Tattoo design. All it takes is a huge imagination, a little research, and the right contacts. When cooking up the outline for your newest ink, think about what the tattoo will symbolize and whether or not the piece speaks to your personality. Placement is important as well since even the greatest tattoo can appear mediocre if it isn't in just the right spot. If you need inspiration, then our team of Da Vincis can create a truly unique piece for you. Simply visit our design page at www.itattoodesigns.com and take advantage of our Custom Tattoo Page.