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A pawprint for all the kitties in my life

I will tell you now, I am indeed a crazy cat lady. Or at least well on my way to getting there. I currently have three lovely kitties. I am actually allergic to them, but take prescription medicine to control the symptoms.

A few years ago I decided I wanted to get a tattoo in memory of a specific pet cat of mine, who had passed away. I considered perhaps getting a portrait styled tattoo of him, and researched local realistic and portrait style tattoo artists. As usual, I sat with my idea for some time before taking action on it. A tattoo is permanent after all.

I then started thinking about the fact that I have several more cats now, and have had others in the past, and that maybe a more generic tattoo for all of them would be better. I wouldnt have the room to get one for each as they passed on, so one tattoo to represent my love for them, and the good times seemed better. I was glad I had not rushed into my first idea. So I looked for ideas and images that would suit all my pets past and present (and probably future). I wanted something simple, but clear. Something that would make me smile and bring good memories to me when I see it.

Since I already had quite a few tattoos and more planned, choosing the location for this new one was also an issue, and would to some extent, likely dictate size limits. I ended up choosing my foot as the ideal spot, so it wouldnt interfere with the themes or styles of other larger projects I had or would have one day. So I knew it had to fit on the top of my foot.

Once the location was chosen, the idea just came to me, common though it may be, it worked. A paw print. A little kitty foot on top of my foot, so they will always walk with me. It is a fairly common tattoo, with various paw print styles and shapes being seen on flash walls everywhere. I knew I wanted it simple, just black, but I wanted to make sure it was a reasonably accurate cat paw, not just a paw print of some nondescript animal.

So, I used some non toxic ink pads, and my kitty, Josie, inked up her paw, and had her walk across paper again and again til I could get as clean as an image as possible. But anyone with cats knows how hard it is to get a cat to cooperate. And their furry toe-hawks can make it hard to get a clean image. But once I had a few decent ones, I figured it would be enough to compare to images online to get one that was both clear but also accurate.

I booked an appointment, printed off the image I found in the right size, and was ready to go. I chose to have it inked on top of my right foot, slightly to the right of my ankle, not really on the side. I will admit that the choice was largely based on the fact that the spot was the fleshiest on my foot, and so I assumed would not hurt as much as I had heard some foot tattoos do.

My artist jokingly warned me how much foot tattoos can hurt while he cleaned me up, made up the stencil, and got his gear ready. I sat on the bench table and he held my foot in his lap . We checked the placement, which was good, and off he went.

Now, let me say, at this point, I already had about 20 hours of tattoo work on me, including on my chest. Nothing compared to this one, pain wise. It was unbearable. I had a hard time sitting still, my legs felt jerky. I tried to breath and stay calm, but it was hard. I had to have the artist do small areas at a time, and even then it was really difficult to keep it together. I felt light headed from the pain.

Luckily the whole procedure took less than 30 minutes since the tattoo is only the size of a large coin or so. He covered it, and told me how to care for a tattoo on the foot. It was summer, so I could wear sandals and not worry about socks and shoes and straps rubbing it while it healed up. Cleaning it was easy; I put my whole foot into the bathroom sink. It healed well.

It was my smallest, and cheapest tattoo, but also definitely the most painful. The pain put me off tattoos for a little while, I didn't know if I could take another session like that. I knew it was just because it was on the foot, so I bit the bullet and of course have since gotten more work done.

It is now years later, and the finger pads of the paw print have blurred a little, so I think I am going to get the tattoo re-done, a little larger, so the palm pad envelops the whole current tattoo, so the new smaller details will be larger and clearer. I am fearful of the pain, but since it is such a small area, I think I will likely end up using emla cream to numb the area this time. I didn't know about it back then, but it is perfect for this, a small tattoo that won't take long to complete, in a very sensitive spot.

I still love the tattoo, and I still love my kitties, and every time I catch a glimpse of my own foot, and see that little kitty foot, I smile, and that was the idea.

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submitted by: killertatertots
on: 28 Sept. 2008
in Tattoos

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