I’ve cemented my position as a crazy cat lady at the tender age of 20 with an enormous cat tattoo. To preemptively answer some questions:
- By huge I mean 10 inches x 8 inches
- I sat for 4.5 hours
- Yes, it’s my first
- Yes, it hurt like holy hell
- The incredible artist was Christy Alexander at Blue Flame Tattoo in Raleigh, NC
It’s a remarkable likeness of my Polly, who passed away last spring. Polly and I met when she was 2 days old; when she could fit in one of my child-sized hands. We grew up together. She slept with me every night for upwards of 10 years, sat on my chest and purred every time I cried, and stubbornly ignored me for all of 10 minutes my first time back from college before reattaching herself to me.
I learned all of my pig-headed tendencies from her. She was unrelenting when she wanted something (see below when she very much disapproved of us packing for vacation). She was loud and obnoxious, gentle and loving in equal parts. She was the cat-love of my life.
When my mom called me in the middle of an already terrible semester to tell me that Polly was dying of a heart condition and needed to be put down, I shoved the entire situation to the back of my mind. I couldn’t deal with her absence or my own sadness. Weeks later, when I came back home and remembered that she wasn’t there; I let myself cry and mourn for her. I knew I needed to keep her with me somehow.
This is how I came to Christy; with a photo of her and stories of how she used to lounge in the yard, under flowering hydrangea bushes for hours in the summer. I cried on this poor artist’s desk over a cat and she proceeded to tell me stories of her own tabbies, and her ideas for how to incorporate my ideas into a tattoo.
Six months later I sat for 4 and a half hours while Christy tattooed her portrait on me. It was excruciatingly painful, but so worth it when it was over. She’s perfect, Christy got everything from her stripes to her whiskers right. And now I get to keep her with me forever. A reminder of all that she did for me and taught me over our years together.