Artist Andy Warhol was a great cat lover. Before he became a household name, he often painted pictures of his cats. He named all of his cats Sam except for one named Hester.
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In 1954, the Warhol pictures were compiled into a published work called 25 Cats Name Sam and One Blue Pussy. His mother misspelled the book’s title and in quirky Warhol fashion, the book didn’t have 25 cats pictured, but contained only 17 cat illustrations.
There were only 190 numbered copies of the original edition, with each one hand colored. The original copies were given to Warhol’s friends, and many were given in the 1950’s as keepsake books for Christmas by such famous families as the Vanderbilts and Harrimans.
The book had no text, just captions done in calligraphy by Warhol’s mother Julia. Warhol and his mother collaborated on another volume of cat pictures called Holy Cats, published in 1957. In this book, the pictures show his cat Hester and other Warhol pets romping in Heaven.
Warhol’s love of cats carried on even after his death in 1987. In 1994, a book called Cats, Cats, Cats featured 39 of Warhol’s cat illustrations. His illustrations are now featured on a variety of items like note cards.
His nephew, James Warhola, featured the cat illustrations in a children’s book Uncle Andy’s: A Faabbbulous Visit With Andy Warhol.
In 2009, Warhola went on to write another book about his uncle and cats entitled Uncle Andy’s Cats.