My Familiar is a creature. Magical Tattoos go on creatures; can I apply one to my familliar?

Once inscribed on a creature’s body, damage or injury doesn’t impair the tattoo’s function, even if the tattoo is defaced.

For instance, I want to tattoo Absorbing Tattoo on my cat familiar. Is that possible?


1 Answer 1


Yes, this probably works.

There is nothing in the rules that explicitly prevents this. As outlined in this Q&A, familiars can attune to magic items: Can a familiar attune and wear or use a magic item?. Attunement is the only requirement for using the tattoo.

A strict DM might rule that it doesn't work for cats and other familiars lacking manual dexterity.

The description of the tattoo outlines how to attune to the tattoo. In particular, it says:

To attune to this item, you hold the needle to your skin where you want the tattoo to appear, pressing the needle there throughout the attunement process.

A strict DM might rule that the familiar must hold the needle to their own skin, and that they lack the manual dexterity to do so.

Give your cat some hands?

David Coffron suggested in a comment that we can use glyph of warding to create an alter self spell glyph, have the familiar trigger the glyph and be given hands with which the cat may tattoo themselves. Seems odd, but who am I to tell you what to do with your cat? You do you. Maybe get consent since it isn't actually just a cat, but an otherworldy being in the form of a cat.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I agree with your answer. One quick thing you should mention is that the newest update of Sage Advice and next printing of the book will make clear that the familiar can't take objects to its pocket dimension. A strict reading, the tattoo is an item, and will be left behind when the familiar is sent to the pocket dimension, which has game implications if the familiar is killed somewhere the pin will drop where the familiar "dies". \$\endgroup\$ Dec 14, 2020 at 19:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ anyone who thinks cats dont have manual dexterity never owned a cat. My cat picks up, throws and snuggles pens all the time, he easily presses them against his belly, or uses them to scratch his back. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 15, 2020 at 12:26

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