Pete the Cat, The Whimsical Art of James Dean

Each week when I take Max to Georgia Veterinary Specialist, we wait in the “cat” waiting room until it’s time for him to go back for his chemo treatment.  The walls in that area are decorated with some great kitty cat art.  Yesterday, I snapped some pics with my cell phone to share it with you.  I saved my favorite for last.

Pete the Cat looked vaguely familiar to me, but I wasn’t sure why.  It turns out he’s a local favorite (now a world wide favorite) and graces the walls of a number of area businesses.  The artist who paints Pete is James Dean and he lives here in the Atlanta area.

I love Dean’s take on the famous poster, Tournee du chat Noir by Steinlen.   Pete is enjoying a cup of coffee, of course. πŸ™‚  I think my favorite part is his whiskers.  They make me laugh.

Tour of the Blue Cat, Pete the Cat by Deen

A few years back James was approached by Eric Litwin, who writes children’s songs and is a storyteller.  Eric had written a children’s story and song about Pete and shared it with James.  James loved it and the two collaborated and created the book, Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes.  The book ended up No. 8 on the New York Times Best Seller List for picture books!

You can read the whole story of how it all happened in this article: Atlanta’s “Pete the Cat” Makes Literary, Artistic Strides  (Chrome didn’t want to open the article but it opens fine in another browser.)

James often paints Pete a little on the mischievous side, a little edgy.  I love that!  Pete is whisker-less in this painting, maybe he’s just holding them back against his face, embarrassed to be caught in the act of playing in the flowers. πŸ˜‰

Vase of Flowers, Pete the Cat by Deen

Below is my favorite of all the paintings in the kitty waiting area at GVS.  I’m dubbing it, “Road Trip.”  I love the way the headlights on the van look like eyes.

Where do you think they’re going?  Beach?  Nascar race?  Jimmy Buffet concert?

I can’t wait to hear where you think they’re headed!  πŸ™‚  Pete has his own Facebook page here, in case you want to keep up with his latest adventures.  Their actual website is down temporarily because they are in the process of moving to Savannah.

Volkswagen Van, Pete the Cat by Deen


Pssst: A few weeks ago I shared the wonderful sculpture that’s just outside the front door of GVS in this post: The Rescue .  If you missed it, check it out.  You’re going to love it!

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  1. Susan, these are as cute as can be! Would make waiting a little easier (if that’s possible:(( ) Tell us more about Pete, the cat, are these pictures available in the book or on a website? Oh, and the cats are probably on their way to a concert. Now if there were beads and shades hanging from the visor – the beach. Numbers and NASCAR names would be a NASCAR race, maybe Daytona in July!!! You and Max are both in my prayers

    • Polly, I’m just learning about him too, but I’m completely smitten. πŸ™‚ You can buy the books on Amazon and I bet the paintings are for sale somewhere, too, though I’m not sure where. They have a website but it’s says “We’ll be back in Mid-June” so I guess they are redoing it.

    • Polly, I just found some of his paintings here: Oh, and thanks for those prayers, I know they are helping Max. I love the beads idea! Too funny! There’s one of him driving the van at the site above, but the other cats aren’t on top and I love that part!

  2. I especially love the volkswagon bus………

  3. I love Pete!!! They are definitely on their way to the beach, Ft.Lauderdale to be specific! πŸ˜€
    Hugs and enjoy the weekend,
    Beth P
    Pat Max on the head for me too!!! πŸ˜€

  4. I love those pictures! How nice that there is something there that can help you relax while you’re waiting for Max’s treatments. Wherever those cats are going I’m sure they’ll have a great time. Personally, I would love to see them with signs and numbers on their way to a Nascar event! Fun. We’re still keeping Max in our prayers, too.

  5. Hi Susan, I know we’ve all been worried about Max (and you) & that a fund was started to help pay for Max’s chemo. I just read in People Magazine of an organization that might be able to help with some of your expenses for Max. The name of the organization is the Riedel and Cody Fund ( that helps cover veterinary bills for pets with cancer. “Since 2010 they’ve aided some 100 four-legged family members, with up to $5000. each.” I thought you might want to find out more about them and maybe they could help you. Hope this journey of Max’s is over with a good outcome soon.

  6. Love Pete! Looks like a Road Trip to Woodstock! Rock On Pete!

  7. Oh, Susan,
    I don’t know where those cute cats are going but I really hope they are metaphorically leaving that GVS, as one day your sweet Max β™₯ will literally (!) do, because they’re fine now and never need go back, and that they all are headed to health, happiness and cheerfulness!
    ~Hugs and kisses to sweet Max~

  8. Peggy Thal says

    The cutest pictures ever! You have a Vet with flair. The sculpture is so beautiful too. It has so much heart and it tells a story. All the best to you and your Max. We love our fur babies.

  9. They’re taking the ferry over to the beach! Sun roof is open to let the passenger kitties up on the roof to sun and wistfully watch the fish. Give Max a kiss!

  10. Great art…and yes indeed…you did save the best for last..i had a cat that loved riding in the car…she almost ended up a couple hundred miles away..jumped in my neighbors truck and they were loading up to head back to their “all the time home”…they got to the stop sign and she jumped in the back window…the guy said he liked to of had a heart attack…so they turned around and put her out in the driveway…she even rode with her head out the window…simpleton…she was a lot of fun..she liked to have fun too…some cats are really silly…her name was taffy…but for some reason i often called her you have a nickname for Max…sounds nuts but i did for a few of mine over the yrs…the 3 i have now don’t…altho…i do call one…idiot..often enough ^..^

    • Yep, I have a bunch for him. He’s Maxcat, Maximillian, Mr. Max, Maxie, Maxiecat, MaxieMoo and probably a few more I’m not remembering. πŸ™‚ That is too funny about Taffy. πŸ™‚

      • Thank you for sharing the fun art, Susan. Personally, I think that if those cool cats are headed to the beach they are probably going to swing by their fav Petco and pick up some fresh catnip treats for their picnic hamper first. πŸ™‚ Pete looks like my kitties do when they are strung out on the backyard ‘nip I grow for them. Lol!

        Keeping up the prayers for Max and you! And, btw…hubbie’s cat is a Max too and besides all the nicknames you listed we also use Maximum and Maxwell. It is a name that is fun to mess with.

        • LOL I love it…definitely catnip treats in the picnic basket. πŸ™‚ You are so good to your kitties, growing them backyard yummies. Oh, I forgot Maximum…that’s another one I use, too. Also, Maximas. He got called Sweet Pea a little earlier tonight when I was feeding him. πŸ™‚

  11. Janice Hecht says

    Pete the Cat is a Big Favorite in our kindergarten classrooms. The kiddos have watched the video version of the books and quickly ‘rock out’ when the teacher reads to them. They all want to be as cool as Pete. They are learning from Pete that drama is not only unnecessary, it’s uncool!

  12. Selma Kessler says


    The art is so fun!! Maybe they are going to “catmandu”… Too obvious? :).

    Give that handsome Max lovies from Selm in Omaha.

  13. Oh! This is just darling……..Pete the Cat. Love it.
    I think Pete and his friends are on their way to hang out with Max at GVS. That would be good medicine for any cat.
    Miss Maui and I have little chats about Max often. Did I mention that Max is on my Pinterest board – Pets We Know and Love. Pinterest name is Chris (Hurley) Gilley

  14. Hi Susan! I love Pete! I actually discovered him in a little shop in Madison back in 2001 and bought a signed pen and ink of a chair with a watercolor Pete sitting in it. Then I went on to buy a couple of the Pete with the masters series. Of course, I chose the frenchy ones..Pete posing on the bed in Van Gogh’s Bedroom in Arles and Pete as Steinlen’s “Chat Bleu” instead of Noir! lol I did a little post about it a few years ago. You can see it here if you would like: I’m glad you are spreading the word about Pete! Hugs…Debbie

  15. Patty/BC says

    Such great pictures and Pete sure does have personality. I think Pete and the boys are heading out to do some carousing along Route 66. Maybe get into a little fun that they can have a few catnip treats and laugh about when they get a little long in the whiskers later in life. Hope you and Max are keeping up with the strength and courage to beat this and he is encouraged to eat better.

  16. Elaine in Laguna says

    Love Pete the Cat. What cute and and fun art for a vet waiting room!
    I think they’re on their way to visit Elaine and Midnight in So Calif.! We’ll be hanging out at Main Beach! Catching some waves at Brooks Street! But parking the VW is going be a little tough in this beach town! Wishing you a great weekend, Susan! Hope Max is doing better.

  17. Betty819 says

    I am enjoying the story of Pete, the cat so much and the imagination your readers have which makes it even more interesting. Hope the artist and book author read your blog. Very entertaining!

  18. I don’t know Susan, but I think Pete and his buddies are on their way up here to RI to check out TS’ new digs in Watch Hill. They may stay at the tres grande Ocean House, will surely want to ride the famous Carousel and of course go to the beach. They better be careful though, the local police are on the lookout for overly zealous TS fans, ( two arrests already).
    Best to you and Max,

  19. mollycat says

    Hi Susan,

    I couldn’t believe it when I opened your blog this morning. Looking at me is the print I have been perserverating over for the past 2 weeks! I only ordered it yesterday. It is Le Chat Noir by Steinien. I wish I had known about the “Pete” posters. They are adorable! Maybe I can find room on another wall…

    Thanks so much for all you do. I look forward to you blog everyday. Give Max a kiss for me!

    • I’ve always LOVED that print! I know you will love it when it arrives! James Dean is apparently in the middle of moving to Savannah so his website is down now. I hope it comes back up with lots of prints. I’d love one of the one I’m calling “Road Trip.” πŸ™‚ I also love the Le Chat Noir inspired one. πŸ™‚

  20. BamaCarol says

    I love the Pete books! I’ve been getting them for my cousin’s twins and they love seeing what Pete is up to next. I didn’t realize that there were posters and paintings so I’ll have to be on the lookout for those for myself. Keeping you and Max in my prayers.

  21. oops I left you a message on the May 15, post so not sure if you’ll see it but you might want to slip over to that date. Thanks again for a great blog.

  22. Susan, I believe those kitties are going to an old Grateful Dead concert in their cute hippy micro party bus!

  23. I believe these great cats are heading out for the day in country, Maybe a CATNIP field haha. Thanks for the great pics.

  24. I know where the cats are going: to the CATSkills in upstate New York! Lots of streams to catch fish and sun themselves on the rocks after a good meal. Love Pete the Cat, and that sculpture is fantastic.

  25. Jeannie Harden says

    Hello Susan! I’m sharing your story about Pete the Cat with my vet Dr. Ed Sheehan and his wife Clare. They really l9ved the photos of the sculpture too. Dr. Ed and his wife Clare take wonderful care of all our critters. Hugs and kisses to you and Max…and prayers for continued strenghth as the two of you journey through this process together. So glad I found your blog. I look forward to every addition. Love, Jeannie

  26. Jeannie Harden says

    PS Oh…the kitties on the bus…definitely headed to Sanibel Island, Florida!

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