When I (and millions of other American teenagers) discovered The Beatles in 1964, there was much discussion among my friends of their individual personal attributes as well as their music. I remember being particularly gladdened to read... on the back of a Beatles trading card... that John Lennon had a special affection for cats. Ah, I knew we had something important in common :-)
Anyroad, this page is dedicated to John Lennon's cats.
When John was a child growing up in Liverpool, there were at least three cats in his life.
Tich, the marmalade-coloured half-Persian, died when John was at college.
Tim, the half-Persian [ginger cat]... being held in this photo by John's Aunt Mimi... was a stray found in the snowy street by John and became a special favorite. Sam was another cat he loved.As a young boy, John doted on the cats. Every day, he would cycle to Mr. Smith the fishmonger in Woolton village to buy pieces of hake for his pets. Later, as a Beatle on tour, he would phone Mimi to ask how the cats were getting on without him.
~from LENNON The Definitive Biography by Ray Coleman
John's mother Julia had a cat named Elvis. Julia Baird, John's half-sister wrote "Mummy liked [Elvis Presley] to such an extent that when we got a kitten (at my
insistence) it was christened Elvis. The cat later produced a litter of kittens in the bottom of the kitchen cupboard - so we realized our mistake - but the name remained
~from John Lennon My Brother by Julia Baird
In 1965, 25-year-old John, then-wife Cynthia and son Julian lived in a house in Weybridge, England with many cats.
"Once the house was finished John insisted we get a cat - he'd grown up with them, of course, and loved them. The first [a tabby] was named Mimi, after his
cat loving aunt. Two more soon followed [including one named Babaghi, another tabby] and eventually we had about ten."
~ from John by Cynthia Lennon
While John was with May Pang they had two cats, Major and Minor. One was black, the other white.
After marrying Yoko and moving to New York City, there were still many cats in John's life:
a pair, white and black, named Salt and Pepper and Misha, Shasha and Charo who I
think were Persians. I've also read they had a Russian Blue kitten and another cat named Alice.
This is one of my favorite John Lennon posters. Perhaps that's Pepper in the picture with him? When I bought the poster I didn't realize that the image had been
cropped from this beautiful portrait of John AND Yoko! Unfortunately, the original image seems only to be available as a limited edition that I can't afford to buy.
There is a nice enlargement in the excellent book
Dear Mr. Fantasy by the photographer Ethan A Russell. Russell also shot the photos for
The Beatles Get Back book which was part of the 1970 Let It Be box set.
"I began to find John and Sean drawing together. John would draw something and explain
to Sean what it was. 'This is a cat, catnapping, Sean'. John's titles were very short
and succinct with great wit and humour, and made Sean laugh. This is how Sean learnt the
fun of drawing, the fun of doing things together with his dad, and the fun of life."
~ Yoko Ono