Saturday, June 10, 2006

John's pets

As an animal lover myself, I decided to make a complete list of all the pets (mainly cats) that John had over the years. Here are the ones that I know about. If you're aware of any others please let me know!

Early Years
Pet rabbit. [source: Stanley Parkes]
3 cats belonging to Aunt Mimi: Tich (a half-Persian), Tim (a stray found by John) and Sam. [source: Ray Coleman]
A Siamese cat, Suki, who John heard crying in a pet shop and bought for £10.00 [source: Mimi Smith, 1964]
A dog, Sally. In his book "John Lennon: In My Life", Pete Shotton says that one of the only times he saw John cry was when he had been staying with his mother following an argument with Aunt Mimi, and returned to Mendips to find that Mimi had given Sally away. John's cousin, Stanley Parkes, also remembered this incident: "“He had a little dog called Sally, which he adored. One day she got rid of it while he was out of the house. He never forgave her for that."

Beatles Years
John and Cynthia had several cats - "about ten" according to Cynthia. Some of these were named Mimi, Mal, Neil, Babaghi and Bernard.
A dog called Nigel.

Solo Years
John and Yoko had two cats: Salt, who was white, and Pepper, who was black.
Two other cats were called Ying and Yang.
When John was living with May Pang they had another two cats: Major (white) and Minor (black). [source: May Pang]
During the years they lived in the Dakota in New York, John and Yoko had several more cats. Some of these were Alice, Sasha, Misha and Charo.

Here Neil Aspinall remembers John's love of cats:

Talking of the Beatles and their affections remind me of John’s love of animals – something you might not expect from a boy who can be as scathing as he can (when he has reason to be) in public. Well, in private, John is a big softie for our furry friends. In fact, I often think he has more regard for them than he does for many so-called adult human beings. Presently John has two cats and is planning to get horses. I hope none of you go placing helpless puppies and pussycats on John’s doorstep. He’ll keep ‘em all and soon be overrun!

I recall once, before the Beatles became famous, we went to play at a ballroom 25 miles from Liverpool, on the other side of the Mersey. John arrived with a ‘lump’ in the front of his coat. When he took his coat off there was an adorable Siamese kitten! John had spotted the feller in a pet store on the way to meet the rest of us.

“What are you doing with that?” I demanded. “It looks scared to death.”

John frowned in a sort of ‘little boy’ way and finally said, “It was the last one in the shop. It was all alone. I felt sorry for it, so I bought it.”

“Bought it!” I exclaimed. “How much did you pay?”

He sheepishly told me – and it was the equivalent of $20 in American money. And this was at a time when he and Cyn were having to live on less than $60 a week!

That wasn’t the end of it. The noise of another beat group which was playing on the stage terrified the kitten. John became so concerned that he ultimately insisted that we drive the kitten to his home for safe custody with Cyn. We did – and we got back to the ballroom just in the nick. John rushed right out on stage singing, as the other boys were already set up and had begun! This, after 50 miles on rough British roads!

(Neil Aspinall, 16 magazine, August 1965)

John's Aunt Mimi

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