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Curious Cats and Permanent Art

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Dogs may be known as man’s best friend, but cats occupy an irreplaceable spot in many people’s lives as well. While dogs are adored for their friendliness and loyalty, cat lovers are drawn to their furry friends particularly because they require people to work harder for their affection. Although cats are more independent and may typically act more standoffish, they can become especially loving and just as loyal as dogs when they grow attached to someone. Cats just require a little more love from their owners before they offer up their friendship.

Cats even have a special place in Irezumi tattoos. Japanese tattoo artist, Horitomo, has developed a unique addition to this traditional style—cats sporting Irezumi artwork of their own. These tattoos depict tattooed cats eating sushi, wielding samurai swords, and even performing tattoos themselves. Known as monmon cats, Horitomo’s signature addition to the Irezumi tradition can be seen on hats, t-shirts, and even cat scratchers. Horitomo’s monmon cats are just one example of how these beloved pets have made their way into the tattoo tradition.

Cute, selective, and unique, cats inspire artists to expand tradition just to express their adoration. From contemporary spins on traditional Japanese art to unbelievably adorable cartoons, cat tattoos immortalize the love we feel for our pets.


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With their soft, pink toes, cat lovers tend to agree that their pets have the cutest paws. Every cat owner is guilty of sneakily and gently petting their cats’ paws. This traditional heart-framed design celebrates the love and trust between owner and pet.


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Tiny, orange, and delicate, this portrait immortalizes this client’s beloved tabby cat in miniature. Pets hold a special place in our hearts, providing comfort and companionship that never wavers.


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Cats are a popular subject among Japanese anime creators. From Hello Kitty to Bananya, cats have inspired animators to develop entire television and comic series with cute cat characters. Just as Horitomo developed monmon cats as an ode to his love for the furry creatures, comic artists and animators have built fictional worlds where cats inhabit bananas just to illustrate their fondness for cats.


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This quintessential monmon cat represents Horitomo’s signature creation, sporting familiar Irezumi flowers and clutching a petal. A unique touch amongst monmon cats is the tendency for the tattoos they display to resemble spots on their fur.


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Much like Horitomo, Kiera at Seven Tails tattoo in Melbourne looks to cats as her muse. Striking a delicate balance between realism and fantasy, she exclusively tattoos images of cats. However, even if she sticks to the same primary subject, she has managed to make each design unique. From simple portraits of cats to designs like this realistic interpretation of My Neighbor Totoro’s Catbus, Kiera has an unmatched ability to tattoo beautiful and unique cats.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the official position of PainfulPleasures.