Interview with Kate Benjamin of

Last Updated on July 11, 2013 by Jenny

Recently, the lovely Kate Benjamin, mastermind behind Moderncat and Moderncat Studio started,  I was interested in learning more and wanted to share it with Floppycats’ readers as well.  Thanks to Kate for the interview.


1. In addition to your famously well known Moderncat and Moderncat Studio, you’ve now started  What is a Cattoo and how did you get the idea for Cattoo Design?

“Cattoo” is a funny word for “cat tattoo.” That means a tattoo that is a picture of, or related to, a cat — most definitley not a tattoo ON a cat. That would not be cool. I was researching ideas for cat tattoos and I couldn’t find a website dedicated solely to pictures of cat tattoos that was beautiful and easy to navigate. There are lots of other sites out there with tattoo galleries, including cat tattoos, but none that appeal just to cat lovers who also appreciate good design, so I created It’s a very similar story to how I created

2. You have two cattoos, is that correct?  Can we see photos?  How come you got the cattoos that you did?

I got my first cattoo in March of 2011, just after my 40th birthday. It’s an original illustration of me that appeared in the Phoenix New Times Best of 2010 issue. The illustration is by Anthony Pugh and depicts me as Cat Woman surrounded by several kitties. I absolutely love it! It was the first thing I ever considered having tattooed on me, and I had it done on my right lower leg. It’s about 7 inches tall and very colorful, however it got infected and needs to be re-touched, so that’s why there aren’t any good photos of it yet (just this one from the night I had it done before it got infected).

CatWomanTattooI learned a lot about tattoo care with this experience. I had to take antibiotics for three weeks. It was not fun.

Because of my bad experience with the first tattoo, I thought maybe I was a one tattoo kind of person, but as soon as it started to feel better, I realized I had the tattoo bug. They say, tattoos are like cats, you can’t have just one! So off I went to look for more great cat tattoo images and that’s when I realized the need for a new blog.

I just got my second cattoo two weeks ago. It’s pretty big on my left arm, so we decided to do it in stages to make the healing process easier. So far we have just the outline done and we’re going to start filling it in (just black) next week. My tattoo artist is Heather Alvin of Lady Luck Tattoo in Phoenix, AZ. Here’s a photo of the outline.

Cattoo Outline
3. How do you get your submissions for cattooos?  Are people coming to the website daily and submitting them or are you actively looking for cattoos?

Cattoo Design is a showcase of people’s cat tattoos, so readers have been submitting photos along with short stories about the tattoo. I’ve also been looking through portfolios and DeviantArt and on Flickr and sending messages to people who have posted photos of awesome cattoos, asking for permission to post and more info on the work. I make sure to link to the tattoo artist and/or studio, as well as the original artist, whenever possible.

4. What is your overall goal of  Just to share photos of cattoos?

Cattoo Design is about giving the artists credit for their amazing work and inspiring others to be creative when planning their next cattoo. I’ve had several readers comment that they don’t have any tattoos yet, but that they are very excited to get ideas from the site. Cattoo Design is really targeting a subculture within a subculture. Not all tattoo collectors are cat people and not all cat people are tattoo collectors. There’s a small area of overlap, and that’s who Cattoo Design is for.

5. So far has there been a specific category of cattoos that’s the most popular?  I love when someone submits a photo of their kitty and then also a photo of the tatooo that is supposed to match that kitty.

I love it when people submit photos of the cat that inspired the cattoo! Tattoos are usually very personal and meaningful, so it’s great to get photos or a story that helps others understand the significance.

Memorial cattoos are very poplular. Some people get portraits of specific kitties who have passed on or they get generic cat images as a way to commemorate all the cats they have known. Paw prints are a common element in a memorial cattoo, as well as including the cat’s name in the artwork. Getting a tattoo can be a cathartic experience and lots of people feel that the pain of getting a tattoo helps them to deal with the pain of loosing a beloved pet.

Cattoo Design isn’t limited to just house cats, wild cats are welcome, too! I’ve started to get submissions with some beautiful big cat images. Big cats, especially panthers, are part of traditional tattoo imagery, like the classic Ed Hardy crawling black panther.

There are several specific artists whose work is commonly used for cattoos, like Shag and RedTango. It is also common to find cat characters such as Hello Kitty, Maneki Neko, and the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland. The site has categories for common cattoo themes to make it easier to find examples of each.

6. What has been your favorite cattoo story so far?

I think my favorite design so far is the Smokin’ Kitty Tattoo, but the story and most amazing portrait that sticks out in my mind is the Tribute to Julie. The funniest one so far has been the Cat Ass-Trophy Tattoo.

I absolutely love the Celebrity Cattoo category that kicked off with Jackson Galaxy and his amazing collection of cattoos. I’m also really excited about the new Team Cattoo category focusing on animal rescue groups with cattoos. The category launched with the team from the San Francisco SPCA. They have so much amazing ink! I’m interested to find other rescue groups that have a cattoo theme. I’m sure they’re out there!

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