Janee Welcome was scrolling through TikTok when she came across a matching design tattoo of two cats in mushroom hats. Welcome presented the design to her two closest friends and told them it would be perfect for their trio.
The three friends visited a Slanging Ink shop in Houston, where Anthony Hoang inked three identical cats. Welcome said she and her friends have since become routine customers of Anthony, who even coined a nickname for their trio — the “mushroom cats.”
Welcome, a woman who wears a mushroom cat tattoo on her right arm, says that the three grew close after getting tattooed together. They have gone on many group holidays since.
“We’ve known each other since elementary school,” said Welcome, a radio-television-film senior. “We had our little groups of friends in high school but became close during junior and senior years.”
In Richmond, Texas, an area of Houston, the childhood friends met for the first time as McNeil Elementary students. Welcome said they became closer in high school when they began attending concerts and bonding over artists such as Surfaces or The Driver Era.
“During quarantine, we were like, ‘Let’s try all these new things together before we leave to go to college,'” Welcome said.
One of the new experiences the trio shared before going to separate colleges — UT, University of Houston, and Texas A&M University — was getting tattoos. The group got their first tattoos together, matching hearts. Welcome, and two of her friends placed the seat on the finger. Another friend put it on the ribcage.
Welcome explained, “Right away, if I were to meet someone at UT and they asked me for matching tats (I’d hesitate), but because I knew them from elementary school, I would have no problem.”
Though a reminder of childhood friendship, Welcome said the mushroom cats inspired her to adopt a cat of her own — a now 1-year-old orange kitten she named Jupiter.
Jupiter, the pet she adopted from Austin Pets Alive, has orange fur and stripes similar to Jupiter’s. Welcome said her “little rascal” inspired her to seek out the design for her next tattoo — the planet Jupiter with a cat paw in the middle.
Welcome replied, “He’s my little boy and will be with me for 20 years.” “I want to get him a small tattoo.”
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