There are plenty of reasons to consider cat tattoo ideas for your next ink adventure; just take a look at the long list of symbolic keywords at the end of this page, and you can see the cat has tons to offer in the way of meaning.
We can make sense of some of these symbolic attributes by investigating the various cultural/mythological deities associated with cats. Many of these deities are goddesses and have feminine/lunar qualities which carry themes of: Fertility, Nurturing, Emotion and Intuition to name a few.
Here are some deities associated with cats to round out your research into cat tattoo ideas:
- Artemis (Greek): Lunar goddess associated with hunting, fertility and protector of the sacredness of Nature.
- Diana (Roman): Also a moon goddess who help all wildlife and Nature as sacred. Governed the sacred act of the hunt.
- Hecate (Greek): Goddess guardian of the sacred feminine, holder of magic knowledge, cycles, transition, shapeshifting
- Bast (Egyptian): Solar goddess, fiercely protective of children and matron of childbirth, magic, ritual and sacred feminine
- Freyja (Norse): Goddess of love, beauty, pleasure, childbirth and good taste. Cats pulled her chariot.
I have several friends with cat tattoos. Most of them tell me the reason for their cat-inspired ink is to memorialize the passing of a dear feline friend. Those who aren't commemorating their pet, tell me they got their cat tattoo as a symbol of protection. They understood the ways of ancient mythological gods/goddesses and drew upon the protective qualities of the cat as a means to bolster their own confidence.
In fact, to the ancient Celtic way of thinking cats were considered the guardians of the Otherworld (or Underworld, depending which texts you read from various regions). Stoic, silent and mysterious, it's clear why cats make outstanding Otherworld guardians. They keep the secrets of the Otherworld eternally to themselves, as the gaze with guile upon a world that does not see or understand the depth of their knowledge. Astute, crafty and clever, cats were considered residents of Celtic mystic realms too. When invoked, cat energy can grant the caller a variety of insights regarding esoteric, ethereal knowledge. These powerful meanings in Celtic lore often play an important role in selecting cats for tattoos.
I like the theme of shape-shifting when discussing cat tattoos. In Japan, folk tales describe cats having the ability to walk between worlds. Other Japanese legends tell of cats joining forces with women to shift their behavior and demeanor. This tale seeks to explain woman's unpredictable, sometimes secretive nature.
Western European folklore also keeps record of cats aiding women in feats of shape-shifting. Early writings about witchcraft report cats always drawing close to women practicing witchcraft - they were called "familiars." The term refers to the ability to move as a cat does in otherworldly ways... shape-shifting or casting out magic by secret means - just as a cat often moves about in sleek, stealthy ways.
Whether you are seeking cat tattoo ideas in the form of honoring the passing of a beloved pet, or paying homage to ancient goddesses who claimed the cat as their companion in myth - to be sure, the cat is an awesome subject for your next tattoo.