04:24:12 pm on
Friday 12 Jul 2024

Cat Tat
Matt Seinberg

For the longest time, I've wanted to get a tattoo on my upper left biceps brachial, the upper arm that shows when I flex, to memorialise my first cat, Domino. I had her for fifteen years. I was devastated when we lost her. After we lost Daphne three years ago, I decided I wanted to get a tattoo to remember her as well.

Two tattoos keep the cats in mind.

My daughter Melissa wanted a tattoo for her eighteenth birthday. She wanted a black shaded daisy on her left ankle; it was for one of our current cats, Daisy. I said that I would pay and get mine at the same time.

I did some searching on the internet to find samples of what would be appropriate for a man of my tender years. I used the search term "two black cat tattoos." I was amazed at the number of images that showed up. See above.

I saved a couple of images to my phone. I told Melissa we were going to the tattoo parlor that Friday. They open at 12 pm and we would get there as they opened.

Melissa showed the tattooist what she wanted (above bottom). Then I showed her what I wanted (above top), with a couple of minor enhancements. Since both Domino and Daphne had white spots on their chests, I wanted my tattoo feathered, to show some texture. Domino had gold eyes and Daphne had green eyes; I wanted some colour there as well.

I also decided to put their names on my tattoo, too. At first, the drawing had the name on top. Melissa said it would look better on the bottom. They did the drawing again. It did look better that way with the name at the bottom, as Melissa suggested.

We got the prices. It was what I figured. We said yes, do it.

Melissa went first. I waited. She took roughly forty minutes.

My tattoo fit my upper arm, perfectly.

Because Melissa had it done on the ankle, she had a little bit more pain than did I. She came hobbling out of the room and was grateful to sit down. Now, it was my turn.

The first thing Laura, the tattoo artist at Wyld Chyld, in Merrick, New York, did was shave my biceps brachial. Then she cleaned it, as we discussed exactly where I wanted the tattoo. She put the stencil on and the spot was just right.

What Laura told me would be twenty minutes took more like an hour. I had my headset plugged in and was listening to Radio Margaritaville. It’s my favourite station on SiriusXM.

For anyone without a tattoo, the best way I can describe the feeling is a buzzing bird, quickly pecking at your skin. The after feeling is a mild form of sunburn. Getting a tattoo isn’t creepy and doesn’t engender a crawly feeling.

We didn't talk, much, Laura and I. I didn't think it would be a good idea to distract her from her work on my bare skin. She worked. I grooved to Radio Margaritaville. I pondered buying some of that wonderful Jimmy Buffett tour sway, designed by Betsy Baytos, next time he appeared in the New York City area.

When Laura finished, she cleaned and wrapped tattoo with plastic wrap. She told me to take the wrap off in roughly an hour and clean it, using Aquaphor so it wouldn't dry out.

On workdays, I can cleanse and moisturise the tattoo twice a day, maybe three. On my days off, I can do it four times. I've always been a quick healer, when it comes to cuts and scratches, so I figure within a week the redness and swelling will go away.

Laura, the tattooist, told me that when the redness and swelling subside, I should call her shop to make a follow up appointment. She needs to fill in the white spots and add more colour for the eyes. I think that will happen in a month.

Some of my friends at work were amazed I actually got a tattoo. They asked why. They asked if it hurt. I told them, no, it didn't hurt, and as for why, that was easy. It's my way of remembering my first two cats, which I loved very much.

A tattoo is a life-long reminder.

I miss Domino and Daphne. A tattoo is my way of always having them with me.

Matt Seinberg lives on Long Island, a few minutes east of New York City. He looks at everything around him and notices much. Somewhat less cynical than dyed in the wool New Yorkers, Seinberg believes those who don't see what he does like reading about what he sees and what it means to him. Seinberg columns revel in the silly little things of life and laughter as well as much well-directed anger at inept, foolish public officials. Mostly, Seinberg writes for those who laugh easily at their own foibles as well as those of others.

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