12 Cat Memorial Tattoo Design & Saying Ideas


Memorial tattoos honoring deceased pets have risen in popularity in the past several years. In fact, many people refer to tattoos that memorialize their cats as “cattoos.” Memorial cat tattoos are a creative way to honor someone (or a pet) who meant a lot to you. Here, we explore some different styles of cat memorial tattoos to inspire you. 

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Small Cat Memorial Tattoo Ideas

Even people who wouldn’t usually get a tattoo might be inspired to make an exception to memorialize a beloved cat. For someone who isn’t usually enamored by ink, a small and unobtrusive cat tattoo is usually the way to go. These designs may be small but pack a lot of love. 

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1. Pawprint tattoo

Pawprint tattoos are a simple but lovely way to pay tribute to a deceased pet. Even though this is a simple and minimalist design, it can still be customized to an extent.

You can opt for a simple, shaded in pawprint or set of pawprints. You can incorporate your pet’s first initial onto the pad of the paw. Or you can pair a pawprint with a small heart or a set of wings. This tattoo is understated but still offers personalization options.  

2. Cat outline tattoo

Do you want a tattoo to memorialize your pet, but you’re afraid you can’t handle the pain?

You can get a sweet cat tattoo in less than an hour. Just get a small outline of a cat tattooed somewhere unobtrusive. Because it’s just simple line work with no details, it can be done in a matter of minutes with minimal pain.  

3. Cat silhouette tattoo

If you want a small, unobtrusive tattoo that has a little more visual heft than an outline, a silhouette is a great option for you.

You can get a very small silhouette — it can be the size of a half-dollar or even smaller, depending on your artist. It will have more skin involvement than an outline because the inside will get shaded in. The simple design will still be quick and relatively painless.   

4. Tattoo with ash-infused ink

If you had your pet cremated, you may want to do something special with your pet’s ashes. Some specialty third-party companies make tattoo ink infused with a small amount of cremation ash.

It can be a little pricey, around $200 a vial. But that can add extra emotional impact to a small cat tattoo. 

Medium or Large Cat Memorial Tattoo Ideas

Sometimes a small tattoo doesn’t feel relative to the size of the love you had for your late cat. Many people want a memorial tattoo to have more of a striking visual impact. These medium and large cat tattoos are well-suited for someone who wants to celebrate a cherished cat in a way that everyone can see. 

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5. Photorealistic portrait

Many people who get cat tattoos want to memorialize their cats just as they remember them. In that case, a photorealistic pet portrait is a lovely tribute. Find a tattoo artist who specializes in adapting photographs to portraits.

Share your favorite photos of your cat so the tattoo artist can recreate how your cat looked in tattoo form. It’s a beautiful way to carry a beloved pet with you always. 

6. Cat tattoos with character

Some people like to incorporate a touch of whimsy into their memorial pet tattoos. You can do that by adding some character to your cat tattoo. This can be done in a very literal way.

Reimagine your feline companion as Puss in Boots. Or you can just add some quirky element. If your cat was bossy, have the artist work in a captain’s hat to a portrait. 

7. Floral pet portrait memorial tattoo

Earlier, we talked about photorealistic pet portraits. Some people don’t wait until their cat dies to get a portrait of their pet in tattoo form. So if you want to make it especially clear that this tattoo is a memorial, you can also have your artist include flowers.

You can incorporate popular funeral flowers, like lilies, roses, and gladioli. It makes for an elegant and heartfelt memorial.  

8. Colorful watercolor pet memorial tattoo

When pets die, you may say they’ve “crossed the rainbow bridge.” Incorporating the colors of the rainbow is a great way to make it clear that a pet tattoo intends to be a memorial. It’s the perfect way to incorporate color into the design.

Cat Memorial Tattoo Sayings and Quotes

When you picture a memorial cat tattoo, you probably picture something very graphic. You might envision a photorealistic portrait or a representation of paw prints.

But some people opt for a tattoo that incorporates words instead of pictures. There are many evocative sayings about cats that make great memorial tattoos. Check out “rest in peace” quotes that would be fitting tributes to a much-loved cat.  

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9. “The fog comes in on little cat feet,” by Carl Sandburg

Carl Sandburg was a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, biographer, and journalist. Many of his works were rich in metaphor and explored the beauty of the natural world. The full text of this poem is as follows:

The fog comes
on little cat feet.  

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

Though it has just a few lines, it packs a powerful emotional punch. It reminds us that all things — whether it’s the weather or life itself — are fleeting and ephemeral. That doesn’t in any way diminish their beauty and importance.

10. “Time spent with cats is never wasted,” by Sigmund Freud

Grieving the loss of a beloved pet means it’s easy to feel like you never want to experience that again. Some people swear off getting another pet because they don’t want to put themselves through that kind of heartache again.

This tattoo can serve as a reminder that the time you get to spend with your cats is worth the pain that you experience when you lose them.

11. “What greater gift than the love of a cat?” by Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens is known for being a very loquacious author. Dickens didn’t inflate his word count for higher pay. He was just naturally verbose.

But with this concise quote, he proved he could really capture important concepts in just a few words. This quote is perfect for anyone whose life has been enriched by the presence of a feline friend. 

12. “Women and cats will do as they please.” by Robert Heinlein

If you’re a woman who loves cats, you may feel uncertain about getting a memorial cat tattoo.

That could seem like “crazy cat lady” behavior. But this quote takes the air out of the stereotype. It reminds us of the positive things that women and cats may have in common — namely, a strong sense of help and a fiercely independent streak.  

Pay Tribute to a Cherished Pet with These Memorial Cat Tattoos

Cats have a reputation for being aloof and independent. But a cat lover knows that cats can also be sweet, cuddly, and affectionate. Memorialize your cat in a permanent way.

A memorial cat tattoo enables you to always carry your cherished pet with you. It’s one of the most meaningful and lasting pet memorials you can use to honor a special cat.  


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