It's My One Year Cat Lady Tattoo Anniversary!

My tattoo healed, one year later (2018)

My tattoo healed, one year later (2018)

Exactly one year ago, to the day (yup - November 19th), I got my second tattoo. I consider it my “real, real” tattoo since my first one, that I got six years ago, was small and simple — and it still does have a very special place in my heart.

In celebration of my other tattoo’s birthday, I wanted to touch on the who, what, when, where, and why of my experience.

Lilly Anchor tattooing me (2017)

Lilly Anchor tattooing me (2017)


When I got my first piece I went into a tattoo shop and crossed my fingers that I would get a good artist with a steady hand, which I thankfully did. The second time around I made sure to do my research and went on the hunt to find someone who’s work I really loved. It took a couple years, but I got there.

I was looking for someone who did clean line work and and had a style that was inherently their own. I started searching through Instagram hashtags which ended up in me following a ton of insanely talented tattoo artists on their pages. I spent HOURS on this for weeks at a time. Eventually I came across @lillyanchor’s profile and knew that I needed to book something with her. Although they are based out of Los Angeles, I noticed they often did travel to Chicago.

Lilly Anchor Cat Tattoo

I had originally inquired about a something custom and when they said what I had described wasn’t their style, I knew that they were passionate about their vibe and I respected that. The fact that I couldn’t get my original idea done but still wanted it done by Lilly is a testament to knowing that they were “the one.”


Even though I didn’t go with what I originally had wanted, I ended up choosing the most perfect flash piece. Lilly would post their flash work on their IG and would call out the location they were willing to tattoo it in. I just so happened to be scrolling down when I saw a sheet with the cat lady tattoo that made me feel like it was meant for me. So when I saw they were willing to do it in Chicago I emailed them so fast, it felt like I blacked out for a second. Lilly books up FAST and I had missed these slots a handful of times. After some back and forth, we settled on the date and I sent my deposit.

Cat Tattoo

The meaning isn’t too deep, but it is me: a proud cat lady. I never grew up with animals, and since adopting both of my cats, I truly feel like I saved them and they saved me. They’re my absolute favorite and I love how much warmth and joy they bring into my life. Being able to rep that makes me so happy. And of course, it was a beautiful piece.

Told ya, nothing too deep.


Time of year: Since it was November, I didn’t have to worry too much about having my tattoo exposed in the sun. It allowed for the healing process to be really seamless.

Getting tattooed

Length of tattoo session (time): A little over four hours. I didn’t anticipate for it to take that long, but I was so relaxed the entire time that it felt like maybe one hour had gone by.

After my thigh was done, Lilly covered my ink with tegaderm bandaging (which is a transparent film dressing) and told me to keep it on for 3-4 days. This was very different from my first experience where I had a saran wrap-type of dressing and was told to take it off after a few hours.

I took off my tegaderm after a full 3 days, in the shower under warm water as instructed, and HOLY SHIT was that way more painful than getting the actual tattoo. I nearly passed out because I think my body was like “WTH is going on here?!” I got over it in two hours and made sure to wash it with fragrance free Dr. Bronner’s castile soap. I used the basic Cetaphil lotion to keep my art piece moisturized.

I took care of my tattoo better than I’ve taken care of most things in my life — and I personally think I do a good job of taking care of things.

All of my flaking stopped within a week and a half! I was able to indulge in bath time two months later.


Shop: Lilly was a guest at Black Oak tattoo, which is one of the most beautiful places I have ever walked into. The interior decor and energy in there was/is so fucking cool. A true gem in Chicago.

Body: I have always had this grand idea in my head that I am going to get a sleeve of tattoos done. I had wanted this on my left arm (outer or inner bicep area) but was told it was too big and would need to on my hip or thigh. I settled on having it on the front of my left thigh (about 9 inches long, 6 inches wide). A spot on my body I never thought would be tattooed but am so glad I went with it.


My heart fully believes that the combination of my stellar artist, relatable subject piece, shop environment, and healing process made this such a positive and bitchin’ time of my life.

lilly anchor tattoo

I finally felt like I had agency of my body and was making decisions based on things I liked versus what I thought I was supposed to like.

black line work tattoo

The first couple of days when I would sit and look at my fresh ink made me panic a bit, not going to lie. But once I got used to seeing this incredible piece on me, it made me feel like a badass in my own way.

ymijan cat tattoo by lilly anchor at black oak tattoo

Tattoos are a form of self-expressions, no matter what or how someone chooses to display it.

After 365 days with my cat lady tattoo, I can say with confidence that I grow to love it more each and every day and it’s going to hold me over until I choose my next one — which probably won’t be for a while because they’re an investment! I’m over the moon and can’t wait to see this grow old with me.

lilly anchor black oak tattoo