Ernie: A Photographer’s Memoir



I can’t remember how I happened upon Ernie: A Photographer’s Memoir (by Tony Mendoza), but boy am I glad I did. I’m pretty discerning when it comes to cat books and cat photography and this one scores on both counts. The fact that Ernie is a grey and white tux living in NYC like my Petie didn’t hurt!

Tony Mendoza


The book tells the story of Ernie and Tony getting to know each other when Tony answers a roommate wanted ad and moves in with Ernie and his mom.  The story alternates between their perspectives, and Tony does an amazing job of bringing Ernie’s personality to life as you can see from the photos and excerpts I’ve included.

So this guy shows up and we interview him. I know he’s right the minute he walks in…I vote yes. Now it’s time to turn on the charm… I show him my latest bird. I chew lovingly on Elephant.


Written and photographed by Tony Mendoza, Ernie: A Photographer’s Memoir was originally published in 1985, and sold over 100,000 copies. It was in such demand after it went out of print that it was re-printed in 2001.

It’s hard to believe when Tony first tried to get this book published it was rejected over 50 times. Many of the editors though Ernie wasn’t cute enough! The nerve!

The new guy moved in. He’s got some strange habits. He spend a lot of time on all fours, crawling after me…It used to be more private around here.


Tony, a photographer by trade, had never lived with a cat before and had no intentions of becoming a cat photographer. But after spending lots of time at home with Ernie, he ended up photographing him every day for two years, ending up with over 10,000 Ernie negatives (remember those?!)!

Tony Mendoza

I have a lot more to do now that I’m a photographer’s assistant. I pose. I make suggestions for new shots…


I can’t say enough about Ernie: A Photographer’s Memoir, it’s one-of-a-kind and the perfect stocking stuffer for any cat lover in your life.

Heck, by a copy for yourself just for kicks – you’ll be glad you did!


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  • Texas A Cat in New York

    Another great Christmas idea!

    • You’ll love it! Get one for yourself! 

  • This sounds like a terrific book any cat lover would enjoy. Thanks for the recommendation!

    • Thank YOU for your readership! Glad you enjoyed the suggestion! I really love the book! 

  • My mom received a copy of this book when she was in the hospital, recovering from a car accident back in 1990. It’s a delightful book and I’d recommend it to any cat lover. And yes, Petie does look like Ernie. 🙂 

    • So cool! Yay, glad you agree about my Petie pants and Ernie! 

  • Marilia Bavaresco

    So cute!

  • OMC!  I’ve never met anyone else who has this book!  We have it on our bookshelf at home, and it is wonderful. 🙂

  • LOVE this!!! I must check it out. : )

    • I don’t even remember how I got my copy. Or how I first heard about it. It’s really fab .You’ll love it! 

  • Interesting to note that in the years before the internet, cats knew how to spell and use grammar. Surely Ernie would never ask if he could haz cheezburger,

    • Amy – GRAET point! SEriously. Ernie would NEVER say that!