Venetian cat mask: history and meaning

Do you know the story behind the Venetian cat mask? This is one of the most famous and recognizable masks of the Venetian Carnival and its origins trace back to the special relationship between Venetians and cats!

Cats are protagonists of the history of Venice! They helped the Venetians defend themselves from rats invasions and protect their precious trade onboard ships. Cats became part of the Venetian culture ending up being represented as a traditional Venetian mask up to the present day!

Let’s find out all about the Venetian cat mask!

History of the Venetian cat mask

The history of the Venetian cat mask has very ancient origins, since the Middle Ages for the Venetians cats were more than just pets, they were great allies in the fight against the mice invasions!

The presence of numerous cats in the city of Venice made it possible to prevent the number of mice from becoming too great, actually, mice represented a danger for the city because of the diseases they brought and the damage they caused to food.

The presence of cats was even documented onboard the ships of the Venetians!
Cats were in fact cared for onboard the merchant fleets of Venice, and their task was to catch mice and prevent them from causing damage to the precious goods on board!

As time goes by, the presence of cats became so important and persistent in the lives of Venetians, that became part of Venetian culture itself, up to the point of being represented in the Venetian mask of the cat!

How is the Venetian cat mask made?

The features of Venetian cat masks are to resemble the muzzle of a cat by taking its graceful and feline shapes. It normally covers only the upper part of the face, giving the mask wearer a mysterious, sensual and intriguing look.

It can be made of different materials: papier-mâché is the most traditional one as it has been used for centuries in Venice, furthermore, it is light to wear and easy to adapt to anyone’s face.

Venetian cat masks can have different designs finely decorated with precious materials: some are adorned applying light layers of metals to enrich the mask with elegant shapes, while other Cat masks are creatively designed with floral decorations, geometric forms and cheerful and elegant colors.

Have a look at our exclusive collection and find your favorite model!

Cat Crequelle


Venetian cat mask. With a craquellé effect to further embellish the decorations and the peculiar design of this version.

Chess Cat with Glitter


Cat mask in papier-mâché. It is decorated with glitter in this flamboyant version. Totally handcrafted and available in different colors.

Chess cat


Cat mask with a particular rhombus effect, obtained thanks to an expert handmade decoration. Different colours available.

Cat Mask with Metal Ears


A face in papier-mâché, hand painted with bright colors, decorated with stuccos and pastes produced in our laboratories and covered with shimmering glitter.