James met Pete in 1999. Pete was scrawny little black kitten, playfully sticking his paw out of a cage full of kittens. He was begging for attention and companionship. James was looking for a cat to take the place of Slim, his cat of 13 years. Slim was always eager to play and be loved on. Pete would be the perfect “replacement.”
Once Pete was home, he was on the go non-stop, and constantly around James. He would sit with him while he painted, and one day James captured Pete in a moment of stillness. The first-ever painting of Pete was simple with lots of white space. James chose blue to avoid the stigma of a black cat and because it was one of his favorite colors.
As James continued selling his landscapes and paintings of houses at art fairs, it became apparent that the people loved Pete. He began painting more and more Pete, and people started to fall in love with the little blue guy. Soon Pete pictures are drastically outselling his other watercolors, and an all-Pete show was planned.
In 2006, James met Eric Litwin and collaborated to create the first Pete the Cat children’s book, I Love my White Shoes. The book was a huge success and was picked up by HarperCollins in 2010. Now, James and his wife Kim collaborate to on the Pete books. There are currently over 50 Pete books with more being created every year.
In December of 2017, the TV series Pete the Cat was launched on Amazon. The holiday special Pete the Cat a Groovy New Year has been an overwhelming success, and more episodes are set to come out later this year. The show boasts big names like Elvis Costello and Diana Krall as Pete the Cat’s parents, KT Tunstall as Catalina, and Jacob Tremblay as Pete the Cat.
Pete was a free spirit and only stayed with James for less than a year, but his spirit and playfulness lives on! He has stolen the hearts of people all over the world, as a character in artwork, the groovy star of many children’s books, and now as a character in a TV series. We are humbled every day by just how LUCKY a black cat can really be.