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Cat Tattoos: Meanings and Examples

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Are you a cat lover and would you like to finally take the step of getting a cat tattoo ? After doing your research, you have probably noticed that there are several patterns and drawing styles representing your favorite feline, but do you really know their meaning ? Do not panic ! In this blog article, we will explain the meaning of each type of cat tattoo so that you can choose the one that suits you best!

Having a cat-shaped tattoo can come from several reasons:

  • To highlight your love of felines, as if you were wearing cat clothing.
  • To pay tribute to your deceased domestic cat
  • To represent a famous character like the Cheshire Cat or Felix the Cat!

At the end of this article, you will know everything about the meaning of cat tattoos , and you will know what to choose for your first cat tattoo !

Let's discover together the origin of the feline tattoo and unravel their mystery!

cat ring

Meaning of the Cat Tattoo

Before seeing the different types of feline tattoo, it is important to know the spirit and vision of the cat tattoo ! In addition to symbolizing your love for cats, the cat tattoo has several meanings , for example:

  • subtle strength, feminine power
  • success and blessing
  • The mystery of the unknown
  • The relationship with spirits and the world beyond
  • protection
  • the spirit of clairvoyance, instinct
  • Beauty and delicacy
  • Consideration

The Different Aspects of the Cat Tattoo

There are a multitude of variations of cat tattoos ! From simple cat tattoos to realistic cat tattoos, including manga-style cat tattoos, and so on! Wearing a cat tattoo can simply represent a feline that you find cute, your favorite cartoon character or it can have a deeper meaning as we will see in the next point. Also note that the vast majority of cat tattoos represent a tribute to our little domestic feline.

1) Minimalist Cat Tattoo

The minimalist cat tattoo is a form of artistic representation where the feline is drawn in a very simplified way, often with clean lines, without superfluous details. This style of tattoo is ideal for those who prefer a more subtle and understated approach in expressing their love for cats .

The meaning of a minimalist cat tattoo can vary depending on the individual, but in general it symbolizes:

  • Love and affection for cats in a simple and elegant way.
  • The simplicity and essence of what a cat represents, without artifice.
  • A discreet approach to expressing a personal connection with cats or feline nature.

The minimalist cat tattoo is often chosen for its modern aesthetic and its ability to represent a feeling or connection with cats in a non-intrusive and artistically elegant way.

Minimalist Cat Tattoo

Minimalist Cat Tattoo

2) Black Cat Tattoo

Let’s start with the most common cat tattoo ! One of the first things that comes to mind when we talk about black cats is the terrible beliefs that existed in the Middle Ages. At the time, black cats were directly associated with witches and so because of these superstitions, the poor little felines were burned alive in order to ward off the devil and curses.

Please note, however, that these ideas come from Celtic Culture ! Indeed, in Celtic mythology there is a creature called the Cat Sìth . This one is represented as a Large Black Cat with a white spot on its chest. Myths say that this ghost cat haunts the Highlands, and some legends theorize that it is the reincarnation of a witch .

In our regions, the black cat represents a warning when there is danger approaching , hence the fact that the black cat is said to bring bad luck . But for other individuals, the feline's dark coat makes it interesting to the point that it creates real charisma!

Today the meaning of the black cat tattoo includes several symbols:

  • Mystery and curiosity
  • Femininity
  • Elegance
Black Cat Tattoo

3) Cat Heart Tattoo

The cat heart tattoo is a representation that combines the image of a cat with that of a heart. This design is often chosen by those who wish to express their deep love and affection for cats . The heart, a universal symbol of love, combined with the image of a cat, creates a powerful motif that can represent several meanings, including:

  • The love and deep connection with a cat, whether a current pet, a memory of a lost companion, or just a general love of felines.
  • The fusion of tenderness and affection (represented by the heart) with the qualities admired in cats, such as their independence, their grace or their mystery.
  • A tribute to a specific cat who had a significant impact on the tattoo wearer's life.

This type of tattoo is often chosen for its charming aesthetic and emotional symbolism. It can be designed minimally or more detailed, depending on personal preference, and is often placed on areas of the body where the wearer can easily see it, as a constant reminder of their love of cats.

Cat Heart Tattoo

4) Cat Flowers Tattoo

The cat with flowers tattoo is an artistic design that combines the image of a cat with various shapes and types of flowers. This type of tattoo is often chosen for its aesthetic beauty and rich symbolism. Flowers, with their various meanings and colors, can add an extra layer of meaning to the cat tattoo. Here are some of the meanings associated with this style of tattoo:

  • The fusion of nature and animality : The cat represents instinct, independence and mystique, while flowers symbolize beauty, growth and renewal. Together they can represent a harmonious balance between different aspects of life and nature.
  • Personal tribute : For some, this tattoo may represent a tribute to a particular cat, with the flowers chosen reflecting a personal meaning or memory linked to that animal.
  • Symbolism of flowers : Each flower has its own symbolism. For example, roses can symbolize love and passion, while lilies can represent purity and renewal. The association of these flowers with the image of a cat can therefore create a tattoo rich in personal and symbolic meanings.

This type of tattoo is often appreciated for its aesthetics and its ability to be personalized. Tattoo wearers can choose flowers that have special meaning to them, making their tattoo unique and personal.

Cat Flowers Tattoo

5) Egyptian Cat Tattoo

During Ancient Egypt, cats occupied a high place in the hierarchy ! True symbols of protection , felines were very useful for chasing away all the rodents and vermin that were going to rummage in the food reserves.

In Egyptian mythology, the Goddess Bastet was one of the most emblematic Egyptian gods of the time. She is the goddess of motherhood, the home and is associated with the Moon. Today, the Sphynx is also often represented in cat tattoos thanks to its special appearance.

The meaning of the Egyptian cat tattoo then represents three main points:

  • the consideration of the cat as a true sacred animal
  • nobility and taste for luxury
  • maternity
Egyptian Cat Tattoo

6) Cat and Moon Tattoo

It is not uncommon to see cat tattoos represented with a crescent moon , but what does this tattoo actually mean? Well, nothing special! In fact, there are not necessarily very specific meanings or history for all types of cat tattoos!

If you look a little, the cat moon tattoo can mean:

  • his taste for darkness, night
  • the nocturnal lifestyle linked to the cat
  • hunting, predatory instinct

However, you must keep in mind that it is a style of tattoo used mainly for the aesthetic side than for its history!

Cat Moon Tattoo

7) Japanese Cat Tattoo

There are several tattoos representing a Japanese cat quite simply because there are several legends concerning cats in Japan, the Bakeneko , the Nekomata and the Maneki-Neko .

These felines are very related but at the same time, symbolize opposite things! Let's take a closer look.


The Bakeneko , literally cat monster , originated in ancient stories of Japanese folklore. Legend has it that this cat has divine powers capable of taking human form. Bakeneko are born when a cat reaches the age of 13, or when it weighs more than 3.5kg or if the cat has a very long tail.

It is said that the bakeneko has the gift of projecting balls of fire and haunting houses. Therefore, it is attributed to fires in houses. This idea comes from an old story telling that a cat resting near a fire burns its tail. He caught fire and ran in fear throughout the city. During his run, he created fires in several houses (made entirely of wood at the time).

To prevent accidents of this kind from happening again, the Former Emperor ordered the cats' tails to be cut off. This legend was born with the Japanese bobtail , a breed of tailless cat native to Japan.

BAKENEKO Japanese cat tattoo


Very often represented in Yakuza tattoos , the Nekomata is a legendary ghost taking the appearance of a cat. Also from popular legends, it is often confused with bakeneko . However, the difference lies in their character.

The bakeneko , even if it haunts houses or causes fires in houses, these are not really dangerous or very powerful, unlike the nekomata which are the true incarnation of Satan in a cat's body!

Very powerful, very old, very large cats with a long tail become nekomata. However, upon transformation, their tail splits in two, which is not the case for the bakeneko .



The Maneki-Neko is an extremely famous cat, whether in Japan or even around the world! This is why there are so many people with a Maneki-Neko tattoo ! You often see them in Chinese restaurants or in Japanese temples, so what does this little white cat represent? Often represented with a white or tricolor coat and a red collar with a small bell, these cats represent the Japanese lucky cat !

There are two types of maneki-neko :

  • The female version of maneki-neko : The statue raises its left paw to attract customers. This version is often used in restaurants to attract visitors.
  • The male version of maneki-neko : The statue raises its right paw to attract luck and fortune to all those who approach it. This is the version used in homes to protect the family.

The maneki-neko has several legends, but the best known says that it appears to attract people when a tragedy is about to happen to them. The best known story is that of a group of samurai, wanting to shelter under a tree during a storm, who were attracted by a small white cat waving at them with its paw. When the group approached the kitten, lightning struck a violent blow on the tree which served as shelter for the Japanese warriors.

maneki neko tattoo

8) Geometric Cat Tattoo

The geometric cat tattoo is a style that uses geometric shapes to create the image of a cat. This type of tattoo is appreciated for its modern and often abstract look . Straight lines, triangles, circles, and other geometric shapes are used to compose the image of the cat, offering a rendering that is both artistic and minimalist.

Meaning of the geometric cat tattoo:

  • Modernity and Abstraction : This style reflects a modern approach to tattooing, moving away from traditional depictions towards a more artistic and abstract interpretation of cats.
  • Shape symbolism : Geometric shapes can have their own meanings. For example, a circle can symbolize infinity or perfection, while a triangle can represent stability. Incorporating these shapes into the image of a cat can therefore add additional layers of symbolism.
  • Individuality : The geometric cat tattoo can be a way for the wearer to express their unique personality and artistic tastes, by choosing a style that is out of the ordinary.
This type of tattoo is often chosen by those looking for a distinctive and modern design, which combines a love for cats and an appreciation of geometric art. It allows for a wide variety of customizations, making each tattoo unique to the individual.

Geometric Cat Tattoo

9) Origami Cat Tattoo

To stay in Japanese culture, we are going to talk about the meaning of the origami cat tattoo ! This style of tattoo is very common among cat lovers, because, in addition to having a very nice and original design, the origami cat tattoo is very discreet and inexpensive!

Representing the style of Japanese paper folding, the origami-shaped tattoo is ideal for fans of geometric inkage!

Origami Cat Tattoo

10) Cat Head Tattoo

The cat head tattoo is a depiction focused on the face or head of a cat. This style of tattoo can vary from very realistic to stylized or abstract, depending on the individual's preferences. This type of tattoo is often chosen to capture a cat's characteristic expression, whether it is its curiosity, its mischief, or its tranquility.

Meaning of the cat head tattoo:

  • Personal Connection : Many choose this tattoo to represent a special bond with a particular cat, often a pet. The tattoo can serve as a constant reminder of this feline companion.
  • Feline Characteristics : A cat's face can symbolize different qualities associated with cats, such as independence, mystique, or agility. The representation of the head alone can accentuate these characteristics.
  • Artistic tribute : For some, a cat head tattoo is an aesthetic choice, appreciated for the beauty and natural grace of feline features.

This type of tattoo allows for a great deal of artistic freedom and can be adapted to reflect the wearer's personal style. Whether in homage to a specific cat or simply out of love for the beauty of felines, the cat head tattoo is a popular choice among cat lovers.

Cat Head Tattoo

11) Catfish Tattoo

Best known in Asia, the meaning of the cat poison tattoo is rather negative! In Japanese legends, catfish refers to the Namazu , a giant creature living deep within the earth. This giant catfish creates real earthquakes and causes chaos among men, in short, a real demon in Japanese culture.

In Western culture, we also talk about the expression "being a cat", which means being deceived by manipulators. Clearly, we must remember that the catfish tattoo means that we are not what we want to appear to be at first glance.

12) Tribal Cat Tattoo

Tribal tattooing dates back several millennia among people in Polynesia. Originally, these tattoos are one of the oldest forms of body art. Each tribal tattoo has its specificity, brings very specific values, and even represented historical symbols among the tribes of the island of Samoa!

Back in fashion during the 80s , it did not take long before variations of the tribal tattoo were created and therefore the birth of the tribal cat tattoo ! The tribal cat tattoo therefore has no real meaning and is rather a style of tattoo offering a fairly original aesthetic.

Tribal cat tattoo

13) Mandala Cat Tattoo

After Polynesia, let's take a trip to India with the mandala cat tattoo ! Of Buddhist origin, the mandala tattoo style is characterized by complex designs , symmetry and symbolic patterns ! The origin of the mandala represented ritual areas to evoke the deities.

Little by little, the aesthetics of these designs please and naturally appear in several variations including cat tattoos .

As with the tribal tattoo in the shape of a cat, there is no real meaning for the mandala cat tattoo and its interest exists mainly for the very particular style of drawing which appeals to Westerners.

Mandala Cat Tattoo

14) Cat Paw Tattoo

The cat paw tattoo takes its origin from Maneki-Neko, the famous Japanese cat! As explained earlier, this funny feline with its raised paw attracts luck and fortune to anyone who crosses its path.

A true emblem of the feline, the tattoo in the shape of cat prints represents:

  • happiness and destiny
  • the need to move forward during difficult times
  • Satisfaction

Now you will know why most people wear the cat paw tattoo on their chest, because it symbolizes a difficult moment in their life such as a romantic period or an emotional shock.

Cat Paw Tattoo

15) Cat Skull Tattoo

When we think of skull tattoos, we directly think of death and danger. For cat skull tattoos , it's the same idea. And yes, you don't necessarily have to be a man built like a building and look menacing to wear skull-shaped tattoos! People, like us, who are fans of little kittens can also show their confidence towards death!

The different legends of cats with 9 lives that exist throughout the world prove that our domestic cat is strongly linked to life in the afterlife!

Skeleton-shaped cat tattoos therefore symbolize:

  • acceptance and awareness of mortality
  • valor and courage
  • the determination

11) Cat Eye Tattoo

You've probably already heard that the eye is the reflection of our soul , this expression has never been so true when we talk about felines! Indeed, the eyes say a lot about emotions. The diameter of the pupil changes in relation to our mood: it shrinks if we are angry and enlarges when we are attracted or in love!

These eye reflexes are even more obvious in cats. For example, when you play with your kitten, you will notice that its pupils are extremely dilated! Conversely, a cat in full hunt will have very fine pupils and this is what makes the power of a feline gaze!

In the world of tattoos, the cat's eye tattoo means:

  • his ability to see beyond reality
  • intelligence and wisdom
  • a portal to the occult world

Our Advice for your First Cat Tattoo

Of course, there are an infinite number of other styles of cat tattoos such as graphic cat tattoos or simple outline cat tattoos but their interest is very aesthetic and therefore do not really have any real stories about them.

However, the best way to decide on your first cat tattoo is to try a temporary cat tattoo ! What better way to actually see the result of a tattoo by trying a fake cat tattoo? Not disappearing for two weeks, this will give you plenty of time to form an idea before making your decision.

Let's summarize everything we have just seen together so that you understand the meaning of each tattoo and be sure to make the right choice for your next cat tattoo in relation to your expectations, for example:

  • If you are looking for a discreet cat tattoo : we advise you to go for minimalist cat tattoos as well as tattoos in the shape of a cat's paw!
  • If you are a fan of Japanese cats : look at Japanese cat tattoos , for that, it makes sense!
  • If you're interested in Egyptian mythology : take a look at our skeleton cat tattoo! This represents the goddess Bastet in her feline form.

We hope this article on the meanings of cat tattoos will help you decide on your next appointment with your tattoo artist! cat earring

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