Tattoos have been growing in popularity year over year; some estimate that the industry has been increasing at a rate of 10% every decade. One scroll through Tiktok will support this theory, with tattoo tours and flash tattoo design ideas getting hundreds of thousands of views. There are many factors behind this boom in body art - the most influential is likely that workplaces are slowly phasing out the tattoo stigma. In fact, when polled, the majority of Figo's creative and marketing team admitted sporting some body art.
That's why it comes as no surprise that in a recent survey by Figo, over 75% of Gen Z participants said they'd be willing to get a tattoo of their pet. That may sound a little intense to some, but it's not a new trend. Tattoos have historically been a way to remember that which is important to us. It just makes sense that as pets become bigger parts of our lives, parents will want to find some way to memorialize them. To get an insider look at this common request, we spoke with tattoo artist and cat mom Hilliary Moore of Riverside Tattoo Parlor in Savannah, GA to get her take on these tattoos as well as some tips for getting your own.
City you’re located in
I’m originally from the Chicago area, but I’m currently located in Savannah, Ga
Years in current location
8 years, almost 9
Why did you decide to go into tattoo artistry?
I’ve been drawing my whole life and early on I found myself fascinated with tattoos, tattoo history, and tattoo style art.
Tattooing has such a rich and interesting history. I love that outside of some technical aspects, there are really no rules as to what you can tattoo on your body! It can have a super personal meaning, or just look really cool. I love being able to make connections with people through art and self-expression.
Do you work at a particular studio?
I am really proud to be working with a great group of people over at Riverside Tattoo Parlor here in Savannah, GA. We are a female-owned and operated shop where all bodies are welcome.
A recent Figo survey found that over 75% of Gen Z’ers would get a tattoo inspired by their pet. How do you feel when you get a request for a pet tattoo or tribute?
I’m literally NEVER mad to get a pet tattoo request! Send me all the pictures of your babies! Tell me everything about them! They’re one of my favorite types of projects to work on.
From your social, it looks like you specialize in some incredible pet portrait tattoos. What draws you to these designs?
Honestly, I just really love animals. I love the connections we make to our pets, I love hearing stories about their quirks. At the end of the day, our pets are our best, most loyal friends and that relationship is unlike any other. Plus animals always make for great-looking tattoos
What is the reason clients most often give for wanting a pet-related tattoo?
Many times it’s a request for a memorial tattoo for a pet that has passed away, but honestly, I still get a large number of requests from people who just really love their pet and want to commemorate their time together with a tattoo while they’re still living.
Have you noticed an increase in these requests lately? If so, why do you think that is?
I’ve noticed an increase in pet portrait tattoos. I think styles outside of a realistic, photo-type portrait are gaining popularity and people realize they don’t just have to get a paw print or a name. Find an artist whose style you admire and see what they would do with a picture of your pet!
If someone requests a pet design, what do you recommend they bring with them so you can do them justice? Just a photo of their pet?
I’d recommend getting some really good, high-resolution photos of your pet, specifically in a pose that you’d like to be recreated. Chances are that your artist will work directly with that reference photo to make sure the likeness is accurate.
If you have one of those memorial paw prints pressed into clay, that might be helpful to bring along. But always have some fun photos queued up to show your artist. Especially if it’s a memorial piece. Laughing and talking about their antics is a good way to remember all the good times you’ve had with them.
Are you a pet owner? If so, do you have any of your own pet-related tattoos on you?
My husband and I have 4 cats who rule our household entirely. I myself don’t have any specific tattoos of them (terrible pet mom, I know) but I did tattoo a picture of my husband's main lady Ramona on his leg. We joke that he still needs to get the other three somewhere on him!
What does being a pet parent mean to you?
Being a cat parent means I will forever have random shoeboxes around my house, I’ll never have to go to the bathroom alone again, and I always have someone ready to snuggle me when it’s cold or I’m feeling a little sad. I can’t ever see myself not having a pet. They’re hours of entertainment and pure love.
Ramona is the Grey Lady, Eliot (black and white) is really the one calling the shots, Mr. Grumbles (brown) is the Official President of the neighborhood Bird Watchers Association, and Alfie (black) is an absolute nut and is just happy to be here.
Do you have a favorite pet-related tattoo you’ve done?
I couldn’t choose just one favorite so I grabbed a couple after checking with some of my amazing clients to make sure it was ok. Thank you’s to Deven, Megan, Marissa, and Kelsey for letting me make and share these pet tattoos!
If someone wants to book with you, how would they go about doing so?
The easiest way to book with me is to go to my shop’s website and fill out our request form! You can also try to DM me on Instagram but I don’t always see those right away. Going through the shop means our awesome shop managers can send it over my way.
Lizz Caputo is a Content Strategist at Figo, animal enthusiast, and owner of a rescued senior American Bully. Her hobbies include checking out new restaurants in her area, boxing, and petting dogs of all shapes and sizes.