B&W 5 x 8 in Perfect Bound on Creme w/Matte Lam Page Count: 192 ISBN 9781497424449 Pets/Cats/General Published Feb 2013
An illustrated A-Z history of famous cat lovers and the names of their cats. From Cleopatra's CHARMAIN to Beyoncé's MASTER P; from John Lennon's TICH & Thomas Hardy's KIDDLEYWINKEMPOOPS to Harry Styles' DUSTY & Andy Warhol's 25 cats named SAM - this book is full of fascinating cat names and cat facts about cat lovers through history. Not sure what to call your cat? Select a name from the Index and see which famous person chose it for their own cat.
Whilst Picasso never had a “cat” period, he was inspired by them and incorporated them into several paintings, famously Dora Maar au Chat (1941) but also Cat and Crab on the Beach (1965), Lobster and Cat (1965), and Cat Seizing a Bird (1939), as well as using them as motifs on some of his ceramics and sculptures. We know he had at least one cat, a Siamese called Minou who lived with him in Montmarte when he was a struggling artist. The fictionalised story of Minou and Picasso was the subject of a children’s book, Picasso and Minou (2008) by P. I. Maltbie.
John Lennon’s love of cats began early during his childhood in Liverpool. Whilst living with his Aunt Mimi and Uncle George he had 3 - Tich, Tim and Sam - and he would cycle to the fishmongers to buy hake for them. Although not living with his mother, Julia, he would visit her often and she also had a cat, called Elvis. Despite Elvis producing a litter of kittens, John’s mother didn't change her name. After leaving home and getting married he insisted, according to his first wife Cynthia, on getting a cat. This was a tabby called Mimi, named after his beloved aunt, and more followed, including Babaghi, until they had about 10 cats. Wherever he lived he would always have cats around him. When he left his second wife Yoko Ono for 18 months to live with May Pang in California, he had a black and a white pair of cats called Major and Minor. John and Yoko also cared for another pair of black white cats called Salt and Pepper. Sadly, John’s favourite cat, a Russian blue called Alice jumped out of an open window of their Dakota apartment. John was distraught. His son Sean said that this was the only time he saw his father cry. Towards the end of his life John and Yoko owned a further 3 cats called Misha, Sasha and Charo. In total he owned and loved 17 cats. John loved to draw his cats and used many of them as illustrations in the book he wrote for Sean, Real Love – the Drawings for Sean (1999).
Prophet of Islam
In Islamic culture the cat has a special place in the hearts of its followers. This is due largely to the Prophet Muhammad and his favourite cat, Muezza. A particularly famous story relates how Muhammad rose from his bed as he heard the call to prayer and saw that Muezza was lying on the sleeve of his robe. He cut off the sleeve rather than disturb the cat. Such was Muhammad’s devotion to Muezza that he allowed her to rest in his lap during his sermons. He also drank from the cat’s water and washed himself with it. Legend also says that the “m” marking on the forehead of a tabby cat was made by the Prophet resting his hand on its forehead. The teachings of Islam state that Muslims must not trade or sell cats for money; they can drink the same water as cats as their saliva is harmless, unless impurities are visible in its mouth. They are free to live with cats as long as they feed and water them and treat them well and allow them to roam freely.
Elizabeth Taylor was associated more with dogs than cats. In later life she was often photographed with her white Maltese Sugar dog but she also loved cats, especially the Siamese breed. She was sometimes photographed with Jeepers Creepers for studio publicity shots and famously gave James Dean his Siamese kitten Marcus.
It’s no surprise that the names of Frank Zappa’s cats are somewhat zany. The names of his 4 children; Moon Unit, Dweezil, Ahmet and Diva are an indication of his eccentric taste. Redunzel was re-named Fightey-Bitey due to its aggressive behaviour and Gorgonzola’s name shortened to Gorgo, hopefully to help the cat remember its name. Whatever the story behind the names, they did inspire Frank to write a few songs about cats. The songs Yo Cats, Alley Cat, Meow, Redunzl and Gorgo were written and recorded by Frank as the direct result of his love and observation of his cats – a fitting legacy for his feline friends....