Interview with Sandy Lerner, Author of Caticons, a Cat Table Book

While perhaps best-known as the co-founder of Cisco Systems, and in other circles as the founder of Urban Decay, Sandy Lerner now runs an organic, humane farm in the Blue Ridge Piedmont, Ayrshire Farm, and its retail division, Gentle Harvest.

Though the places and people have changed, the fascination with and adoration of cats has remained constant. Caticons chronicles a 30-year odyssey building what may be the world’s largest and most inclusive collection of Caticons, a journey of happy cats and happy people, inspirational cats and inspired people, loved and loving. Sandy is also an apprentice silversmith and a pilot wannabe,  and avoids vegetables and physical exercise whenever possible.


What made you want to put together a book like Caticons?

I wanted to document this unique collection and to give both pleasure and validation to Cat People all over the world. It turns out that Crazy Cat Ladies, and the oft unmentioned Crazy Cat Gentlemen, are neither crazy nor unusual, but rather belong to a worldwide felernity that has existed since before recorded time. I wanted to spread that you and that message through these lovely images.

5608 b ADJUSTED 25 Cats Named Sam,

How did Caticons get it’s name?

Caticons Screen Shot 2017-10-13 at 11.05.11 AM

What is your hope with Caticons?

First, I wanted to make a record of the collection; second, I wanted to share with my fellow ailurophiles the message that we are very much a majority, and we have been for a long, long time. I wanted to celebrate and validate the unalloyed joy that we share with our cats, and to make the examples of that joy available to everyone.

•0526 B CROPPED Hardstone Carving of a Cat, the Confident Creature Carved in Green Stone and Cabochon Tiger's Eye, Fabergé, 19-20C, Russian

What was your favorite part about creating Caticons?

Finding the quotations. Once we had decided on the (very small) portion of items to include, I had to really look at each object and try and find words to express things that were usually appealing to other times and other senses. It was a lot of work, but again, the validation and joy of finding centuries of very positive human feelings for cats was a great and unanticipated pleasure.

4464 and 4238 CROPPED Moonstone Pin & Earrings_4464_4238

What was the most difficult part about putting together Caticons?

Oh, that’s an easy one. Deciding what to leave out. Then, having done that, near the very end of the process–post-proofreader, and post-layout–we had to get rid of an additional 120 pages! It was misery to consign all of those beautiful things to the digital “bin,” but we eventually put them on the website. I’m better now.

Caticons Book Spread

Why did you choose to make it a table book?

I concentrated on making the book have a very broad appeal: not only to cat-lovers, but art-lovers, poetry-lovers, and lovers of beautiful things. Cats are very decorative, so it seemed reasonable to make the book decorative, as well.

3156 Cropped c “Tete de Chat”, Diego Giacometti, 20C, Swiss

Where can one buy the book?

Right now, only from the website and a few very special cat-centric websites.

Do you have any other cat books in the works?

No, I’m going to spend some time with my real cats (and dogs), “who gave so grudgingly of their ‘me time.’ I’m thinking of writing a book about my (immigrant) family. Writing Caticons was good practice; like the cats, they resist description and herding into one place.


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5 thoughts on “Interview with Sandy Lerner, Author of Caticons, a Cat Table Book

  1. Patti Johnson says:

    WOW!!! Super PAWESOME interview & topic, Jenny! Sandy, thank you so much for creating such a very lovely, interesting, educational and informative book! It looks terrific and it’s going on my Christmas Wish List right MEOW!!! 🙂 <3

    I learned two new words today: felinity & ailurophiles (Woo Hoo! I iz smartur nowsz!)

    Big hugs & lots of love!

    Patti & Miss Pink Sugarbelle 🙂 <3

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