Did John Lennon have any pets? Yes, he loved cats.

It is said that John Lennon was a crazy cat man. Fantastic. He clearly loved them tremendously because on more than one occasion he cried on the passing of his cats. He probably got his love of cats from his mum. The information comes from Mental Floss. Lennon owned a number of domestic cats throughout his lifetime. It started when he was a child. He had a cat companion named Elvis at that time. He also liked dogs and was the caregiver for a couple of dogs over the years whose names were Sally and Bernard. It seems that he is better known for his love of cats.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono with black cat
John Lennon and Yoko Ono with a black cat who they named Salt. They had a white cat as well who they named Pepper. Photo:
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Elvis

Lennon loved his mother and she had a cat named after Elvis Presley. They were both crazy about him (her). They realised they had misnamed her when she gave birth to a litter of kittens in their cupboard. They kept the name. Later on in his childhood he was looked after by his aunt. We are not told why.

John Lennon’s mother handed over care of him to his aunt Mimi (Mary Smith) and uncle George at their house at 251 Menlove Ave, Liverpool Julia came to visit John almost every day. She bought him his first guitar in 1957. Julia shared her son’s love of rock ‘n’ roll music.

On July 15, 1958, when John was 17, his mother died on Menlove Avenue after leaving Mimi’s home. She was crossing the road to get a bus at the bus stop. She was hit by a car driven by an off-duty policeman, 24-year old Eric Clague. He was a learner driver and unaccompanied. It is said that Julia Lennon just ran straight in front of the car. He said: “Mrs Lennon just ran straight out in front of me. I just couldn’t avoid her. I was not speeding, I swear it. It was just one of those terrible things that happen.”

Apparently John Lennon became a recluse after the accident. Julia was 44 years of age at the time. She died of massive brain injuries. His mother’s death deeply traumatised him. He wrote songs in memory of her including: “Julia”, “Mother” and “My Mummy’s Dead”.

Tich and Sam

As a boy living in Liverpool he had two other cats: Tich and Sam. Tich passed away when he was at art school and away from home (1957-1960). They named Sam after the British diarist Samuel Pepys.

Tim

As mentioned, John Lennon was raised from a young boy through to his late teenage years by his aunt, Mimi. He referred to her as the “cat woman”. One day he found a ginger tabby stray cat in the snow. The cat is described as being half-Persian. He named the cat Tim. Tim must’ve been a longhaired cat with the appearance of a Persian cat. Aunt Mimi allowed him to keep Tim.

He used to ride his bicycle to the local fishmonger to get a few pieces of fish for Tim and his other cats. After he became famous as one of the Beatles he would return to check up on Tim who lived to the age of 20.

10 cats with his first wife Cynthia

When living with his first wife Cynthia they had a cat named Mimi, named after his aunt. They ended up acquiring around 10 cats during their relationship. One of them was a tabby called Babaghi.

Paul McCartney had a trio of kittens

Paul McCartney once had a trio of kittens who he called: Jesus, Mary and Joseph. John Lennon also had a cat named Jesus. The name is based upon the fact that the Beatles were ‘bigger than Jesus’ which was a controversy in 1966.

Mid-1970s

In the 1970s John had an affair with his secretary/assistant named May Pang who brought into the recording studio a box of kittens. John said that they could not take them because they were travelling too much at that time. Pang put one of the kittens on her shoulder which prompted John to stroke the kitten and then decide to keep him/her. The only other kitten left was a white one who was apparently noisy. No one wanted the kitten so John adopted her and named the pair Major and Minor.

Yoko Ono

When John was living with Yoko Ono he owned one white and one black cat with his wife. Apparently, in line with his offbeat sense of humour he named the white Pepper and the black cat Salt (see picture at head of page).

Russian Blue cats

John and Yoko also owned two Russian Blue cats who they named Gertrude and Alice. Gertrude became ill and was diagnosed with a virus. They decided the virus was dangerous to their young son Sean. They decided to euthanise Gertrude. Both John and his wife held Gertrude and wept as she was euthanised.

At the time John Lennon and Yoko Ono lived in a high-rise apartment. Their cat Alice jumped out of an open window to her death. At the time Sean was present and he remembers it as it was the only time that he had seen his father cry.

Later years

John Lennon owned three more cats who he named: Misha, Sasha and Charo. He loved to sketch his many cats and used some of the sketches to illustrate his books.

Below are some more articles on celebrities and their cats.

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