Cats on Stamps
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December 2018 Review
Here's a round-up of world stamps featuring domestic cats that have appeared since our previous review a year ago, although I'm aware that the coverage may be incomplete. For a variety of reasons this will be the final such review, as we are retiring from active work on the website. It will continue to be hosted and will remain online for reference purposes for the time being, at least.
Note that all dates refer to 2018 unless stated otherwise.
Beginning with Aruba, one of the Dutch islands in the Caribbean, it has a modest stamp-issuing policy and the stamps aren't always easy to come by. In October a set of six appeared showing various pets; one of them has two kittens in a basket (left). Austria's four Christmas stamps, issued in November, included a charming one of a little girl in a red dress, with a red ribbon in her hair and holding a black kitten (right). According to Austria Post the image dates from a British postcard of 1914 produced by Raphael Tuck.
More kittens were the subject of a booklet of self-adhesive first-class stamps from Belgium (left), issued in August; there were two of each of five different designs. Two issues of interest came from Brazil. The first, in March, was for animal protection and shows a dog head and a cat head (outer right); sheets of 10 included a larger version of the same image. In November a sheet of 30 pets appeared, ten of which are cats. The pets are all named, and we picture a Sphynx cat called 'Hayana' (inner right). The stamps bear the initials UPAEP, which refers to the Postal Union of the Americas.
Canada likewise has two issues. 'Great Illustrators of Canada', from March, is a sheetlet of five stamps including Best Friends by Anita Kunz (left), a humorous juxtaposition of a very hairy young girl astride a Sphynx cat, which is almost hairless. Another illustrator, Julie Morstad, designed a single stamp issued in September, showing a young boy who is gazing at the sky and seeing animal-shaped clouds, one of which resembles a cat's head (right). The stamp was for the Community Foundation charity.
In March the People's Republic of China produced three stamps to mark the Lantern Festival. You'll have to look quite hard, but on one of them a brown cat is asleep on a stool next to the man's left arm in the stamp's centre (left). A sheetlet of three from Taiwan, issued in October, marks the Taichung World Flora Exposition and each stamp shows a different plant accompanied by a cartoon cat (right).
Four whimsical stamps from Croatia appeared in January; on the left we picture one showing a handsome Himalayan (or colourpoint longhair) cat writing a letter! In June the Czech Republic celebrated 100 years of Czech stamps with a sheet of stamps and labels depicting earlier issues; one label includes an image of the 1980 Czecho-slovakian stamp entitled Dandy Cat with Posy (right).
Ecuador came up with a booklet of self-adhesives in May; one of the eight stamps showing domestic animals pictures a white cat with ginger patches (left); the inscription seems to me to be incorrect Felis silvestris catus implies that it's a wild cat, which is surely wrong. In May France issued a booklet of 12 self-adhesive Greetings stamps; one of them features a grinning cat head with heart-shaped eyes (inner right). Also from May a 10-stamp issue for the French Red Cross included on one of them a small, white maneki neko, or beckoning cat (outer right).
Great Britain commemorated the 250th anniversary of the Royal Academy of Art with a set of six stamps in June; they feature contemporary art, with one of the 1st-class values showing a work by Grayson Perry (b. 1960). Summer Exhibition depicts a stylised visit to an art gallery, in which two cats can be seen a white one in a painting on the wall and a small statue of a black one with a rider.
More modern art came from Iceland in November with a four-stamp set. One, entitled The Time and I, has a woman lying on the ground near a yellow cat that has a clock on its face (left). It represents being on the wrong side of youth while seeing the clock tick and time passing by. The Isle of Man's set of Christmas stamps, from October, uses illustrations with characters from the long-running British comic the Beano and marks its 80th anniversary. One of the 'EU' values, for postage to continental Europe, shows a tabby cat being furiously chased by the dog Gnasher, from which the cat has stolen a string of sausages (right).
I don't think there's much snow in the Ivory Coast, but in 2017 two sheetlets appeared, and we show the 'snowy scene' MS here. The stamp itself pictures a Sokoke cat and her kittens; on the other sheetlet are a Minskin, one of the newer 'designer' breeds, and a Norwegian Forest cat. I can't vouch for the authenticity of these stamps, but they are attractively produced.
In February Japan issued two sheets, each of 10 stamps, in the 'Familiar Animals' series; these are all cat portraits and we picture a part of one of the sheets (left). There was also another set of the ubiquitous Hello Kitty in May (not shown). Also in May, Jersey marked 150 years of the Society for the Protection of Animals (JSPCA) with a set of eight stamps and a miniature sheet (MS); just one cat is included, sleeping in a basket (right), and appears both in the set and on the MS.
Latvia has quite often included cats in its Christmas stamps, and this year all three of the Christmas set included a black cat somewhere in the designs (left), issued in November. Madagascar has produced some attractive little cat sets in recent years; a set of three and an MS (pictured right) dates from August 2017. The cat in the central heart is a Selkirk Rex, a breed featured less frequently on stamps.
Two issues from the Marshall Islands in the Pacific are of interest. In April a block of four stamps and an MS featured cats of named breeds; we show the MS, which has an atmospheric illustration of a black Bombay cat in a church graveyard (left). I'm not sure of the significance of that, as it was rather early for Hallowe'en! It�s not clear either what the rationale was for the July set of two sheets, each of six stamps, depicting all the main characters from Star Trek: The Next Generation but with cat heads! It's a 'fun' set, from which we picture the stamp representing Data (right). The Geordi LaForge one even has the cat wearing his trademark visor!
The Netherlands is another country that often includes cats on its stamps, and in February a set of 'birthday stamps' was no exception. A sheet of six stamps with six attached labels, or tabs, has on one stamp a black cat licking a birthday cake, while there are two kittens on one of the labels.
A strip of three stamps from the Caribbean island of Nevis is a bit of a mystery, as I haven't been able to find out anything about them. They're attractive stamps, with all the appearance of being 'official', but seem to be unlisted in catalogues. They aren't recent, being dated 2012, but I mention them here as perhaps a 'new discovery'.
In April this year Norway produced some trial designs for forthcoming personalised stamps; these came in the form of two stamps each with 12 mini-designs. The 'inland' stamp includes one kitten picture, while the 'Europe' stamp (shown right) has two.
In early November Russia produced a splendid illustration of the new (opened in May 2018) Crimea Bridge across the Kerch Strait, thus joining the peninsula to the mainland. A central stamp is flanked by two labels, one of which shows a cat overlooking the scene. I wondered why: but I think it must be a tribute to a stray kitten that joined the construction team; they looked after him and named him Mostik, and rumour has it that he crossed the bridge even before President Putin!
In May Slovenia issued an imaginative set of five stamps on the subject of 'popular superstition and magic', in which one shows a black cat with arched back and fluffed-up tail. Spain has an ongoing series of single stamps highlighting different cities of the country; the one for Madrid, issued in March, has a tiny black cat at the left-hand base of the 'M'. I don't know the significance of the cat as it relates to Madrid.
Five designs on the theme of 'good luck' were in a booklet of self-adhesives from Sweden in August; as for the Belgian booklet above, there were two of each design. One design was a white maneki neko, or Japanese beckoning cat. Fairy tales were the subject of a pair of stamps from Switzerland in September; one has yet another incarnation of Puss in Boots, who's now appeared on quite a number of stamps over the years, while the second pictures the Bremen Town Musicians, also including a cat (not shown).
An all-cats set of three from Tajikistan dates from April; we picture a large, tiger-striped tabby (described as a 'tiger cat'), while the other two show Persian kittens. There have been few stamps featuring cats from Tunisia, but they were added to in March with a small pottery cat on one of two stamps; it shows some of the creations of the women potters of Sejnane, in this case mostly dolls.
On the other hand Turks seem fond of showing off their cats, and a set of four domestic animals from Turkey in November 2017 just too late for our last review includes a handsome white Angora cat on one. Also from late 2017, in December, four stamps from Ukraine showed scenes from an animated cartoon film 'My Country Ukraine', with two of them including an orange cat called Kit Vorkot. He travels around the country through time and space, visiting various cities and narrating in each one a tale or legend associated with it.
That ends this account, although I will add below a summary of the numerous issues from the past year produced by Stamperija of Lithuania that include cats.
As mentioned earlier I shan't be presenting any more reviews on this site, but for anyone interested In keeping up with new issues of cat stamps both domestic and wild I strongly recommend joining the Cats on Stamps Study Unit (COSSU), based in the United States. The subscription is modest and you'll receive a superb quarterly illustrated newsletter, packed full of information, which you can receive either in print or electronic form.
Stamperija issues with domestic cats
Central African Republic January, cats
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Our featured feline Chico (see head of the page) belonged to a lady in the Swiss village of Chesières who lived near the ground-floor office where I worked in the mid-1980s. Every so often he liked to pass by, spend a little time with us and check we were doing everything properly.
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