Cheshire Cat Tattoo: Symbolism, Meanings & More

Cheshire Cat Tattoo: Symbolism, Meanings & More

For lovers of Lewis Carroll’s classic of English literature, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, a Cheshire Cat is the perfect tattoo. But the Cheshire Cat transcends its literary origins and has become a mainstay of popular culture. Today, the Cheshire Cat is infused with many possible meanings, from mischief and mystery to optimism and a sense of humor. It is a tattoo with something for everyone.

This article outlines all the possible meanings of a Cheshire Cat tattoo and provides additional information about the fictional character so that you can see whether it is right for you.

What is the Cheshire Cat?

The Cheshire Cat is a popular character from the book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, which was written by Lewis Carroll in 1856.

Although the ‘Cheshire cat’ was known from before this time, Lewis Carroll’s wonderful writing helped to launch it as one of the world’s most popular characters from literature.


The Cheshire Cat is famous for its wide and mischievous grin and its talent for appearing and disappearing at will.

The character is also fond of having philosophical, meandering, and confusing conversations that often leave the other characters with more questions than answers.

For Alice, the cat is both a guide and a hindrance, and if there was one word to describe the Cheshire Cat, it would be enigmatic.

The History of the Cheshire Cat Tattoo

Cat tattoos have long represented luck, mystery, and grace, although black cats are readily associated with bad luck.

While cats have been a popular tattoo choice for many years, the Cheshire Cat has only recently come to the fore, thanks largely to the many film and television adaptions of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

In these visual media, the Cheshire Cat is represented as a bold, lively, and interesting character that looks great as a tattoo. The first major adaption was Disney’s 1951 cartoon, while Tim Burton released his live-action version in 2010.


What is the Symbolism of the Cheshire Cat Tattoo?

The Cheshire Cat is a puzzling yet ultimately uplifting character, and thanks to its many and often contradictory characteristics, it can have many meanings.

  1. Optimism and positivity

With the ability to see the best in every situation, no matter how dire, the Cheshire Cat is a great symbol of the benefits of always looking on the bright side of life.

  1. Happiness

With its iconic, toothy grin, there are few symbols that better embody the notion of happiness.

  1. A sense of humor

The cat’s constant grin and a fondness for mischief make it the perfect symbol for those of us who love to laugh and make others happy as well.

  1. Mystery

There is much we don’t know about the character of the Cheshire Cat, including where it comes from and why it acts the way it does. And that’s one of the reasons why it is such a popular literary character.

  1. Puzzles and philosophical conundrums

The Cheshire Cat loves nothing better than posing mind-tingling philosophical conundrums, and for those of us who like a little chaos in our lives, the Cheshire Cat is a great symbol.

  1. The out-of-the-ordinary

At one point in the novel, Alice says that she “has often seen a cat without a grin but never a grin without a cat”. The Cheshire Cat is anything but ordinary and its quirky personality is a great symbol for people who don’t “fit the mould”.

What Types of Cheshire Cat Tattoos are There?

There is a wide selection of visual references for the Cheshire Cat to use as your inspiration. From the colorful line drawings of the illustrated books to the many film and television adaptations, you should not be short of inspiration.

Disney’s 1951 movie

In this movie, the cat is large, plump, and shown dressed in bold pink and purple stripes. Befitting its character, the cat’s most striking feature is its large, toothy grin.


Tim Burton’s 2020 movie

This version of the Cheshire Cat is animated and although it is mostly a dull grey color, it has large green eyes and a long, thin mouth that looks just like a zipper.

The Disappearing Cheshire Smile

The Cheshire Cat is famous for being able to appear and disappear at will. Often, just its smiling mouth lingers long after its body has gone.

 A Style of Your Own

There is nothing stopping you from creating your very own Cheshire Cat tattoo, as a combination of these styles or by creating something completely unique.


Why is the Cheshire Cat a Popular Tattoo Choice?

  1. It can be large and colorful or monochrome and subtle
  2. It is a very recognizable character from a very famous book
  3. It can symbolize many different things
  4. It is part of popular culture.

What are the Best Locations for a Cheshire Cat Tattoo?

There is no ‘best’ location for a Cheshire Cat tattoo, but there is a ‘best’ location for you.

If your tattoo represents happiness or optimism, it will go well somewhere you can show it to the world, like your arms or legs.

However, if your tattoo represents one of the character’s more enigmatic traits such as mystery, it suits somewhere on your body that is hidden or not easy to see.


If your Cheshire Cat tattoo represents the out-of-the-ordinary, perhaps it would have the most impact somewhere least expected, such as on the back of your neck or even the sole of your foot!

So, is a Cheshire Cat Tattoo Right for You?

When considering getting a tattoo, it’s always worth taking the time to research the symbolism and what it means. With a tattoo as expressive as the Cheshire Cat, there is any number of ways that it might best suit you.

This article outlines how the Cheshire Cat tattoo is full of meaning and symbolism. If you’re the type of person who values happiness, mystery, or anything that is out-of-the-ordinary,  it might be the tattoo you have been looking for.

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