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British Pub Signs featuring Cats

Gallery 1

Begin browsing the galleries below, or see the index of names and locations
where links will take you straight to a sign or name of interest.
We also have a short article about the history of inn signs here.

More signs in
Gallery 2      Gallery 3      Gallery 4      Gallery 5

The galleries are gradually being updated with new additions and amendments, and image sizes are also being increased.
All entries listed in Gallery 1 now have larger popup images, with the rest following in due course.

Alphabetical index of pubs and locations

Gallery illustrations
Left-click a thumbnail for an enlargement.
In many cases pictures of a pub or other signs are available from text links.
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Romping Cat, Bomere Heath, near Shrewsbury, Salop

The Romping Cat is a small country pub, renowned for its beer, at Old Woods near the village of Bomere Heath, not far from Shrewsbury in Shropshire. It was formerly known as the Railway Tavern.
Earlier signs 2004
See the pub


Romping Cat, Bloxwich, near Walsall, Staffs

Another Romping Cat is in Bloxwich, near Walsall in the West Midlands region of the UK. A community website tells us that it was known as the Sandbank Tavern from 1900, when it was first licensed, until 1957, then renamed to comply with a local tradition that there should always be a Bloxwich pub known as the Romping Cat (read more). An earlier sign showed a cat holding a beer mug and smoking a cigar (see picture, courtesy Inn Sign Society), but perhaps that's no longer considered acceptable. It now has this rather splendid Banks' brewery lion.
See the pub


The Gate Inn, Shirebrook, Derbyshire

At the time of writing (2012) the Gate Inn at Shirebrook had been empty for a short time and the owners, Marstons Brewery, were advertising for a new tenant to take on this traditional pub, situated near the Nottinghamshire town of Mansfield (although Shirebrook is in Derbyshire). Sign image courtesy of the Inn Sign Society.
See the pub


Cheshire Cat, Christleton, Chester

The Cheshire Cat, of Alice in Wonderland fame, is a very well-thought-of pub and hotel on the south-eastern outskirts of Chester, near the village of Christleton and situated beside the Shropshire Union Canal. The pub dates from about 1973 following conversion of the Italianate villa previously known as Christleton Lodge. The former sign (2005) showing Lewis Carroll's Cheshire cat was replaced in 2008 with this ginger beast. Although he's a fine cat, it perhaps isn't quite so authentic.
See the pub


The Puss in Boots, Macclesfield

The Puss in Boots is one of several with that name. This one stands at the side of the canal on the outskirts of Macclesfield in Cheshire, on the road coming down the hill into the town from Buxton. The sign has been renewed since we photographed it originally and our picture is of the latest version; but see the older one here from 2004.
See the pub


The Cat with no Tail, Douglas, IOM

Cat with No Tail: since we first posted the sign for this large pub on the outskirts of Douglas, Isle of Man, it was apparently refurbished and the signs changed to the attractive painting of a tortoiseshell Manx cat. The previous humorous signs, kindly sent to us by Margaret Hunter in 2004, can be seen here.
See the pub


Cat and Fiddle near Wildboarclough, Cheshire

The Cat and Fiddle, near Wildboarclough, is a well-known pub on the Cheshire/Derbyshire border (actually just in Cheshire), at the summit of the winding road across the moors between Macclesfield and Buxton. It is 1690 feet above sea level and is one of the highest pubs in Britain. The inn sign has been renewed since we first pictured it in 2004, but the older version can still be seen here. A rather nice pictorial panel of a cat with a fiddle can be seen on the front of the pub, and the same panel is clearly visible in a photograph of the inn on a pre-1918 postcard.
There are several theories as to how the 'Cat and Fiddle' name arose: no one knows the real origin, but see our Notes and Anecdotes for a couple of theories about the derivation of the name.
See the pub


The Cat, Ellesmere Port, Cheshire

This pub, simply called The Cat, is an urban one in Ellesmere Port, a town in north Cheshire. It's interesting that the artist has chosen to represent it by a wild cat rather than a domestic one, but it's a very fine leopard!
See the pub


The Live & Let Live, Whitbourne, Worcestershire

The Live and Let Live is on the Worcestershire side of the border with Herefordshire, in the village of Whitbourne. Originally a 17th-century timber-framed building, it has been modified and added to over the years but remains a pleasant country pub.
See the pub


The Live & Let Live, Bringsty Common, Herefordshire/Worcestershire

Remarkably, there's another pub known as the Live and Let Live, also with a cat on its sign, just a short distance from the one in Whitbourne above. It's on the other side of the county border, in Bringsty Common, Herefordshire, and is the only thatched pub in that county. It was extensively refurbished in 2007 after a period of closure.
See the pub (pub and sign images courtesy of 'johnmightycat1' at Flickr where there are larger versions)


Cat and Fiddle, near Ilkeston

This Cat and Fiddle — with a different interpretation of the name — is between Derby and Ilkeston, also in Derbyshire, not far from Kirk Hallam.
Older sign 1989, courtesy Inn Sign Society
See the pub


The Old Cat, Wordsley, near Dudley

The Old Cat, a pub in the village of Wordsley, near Kingswinford in the Dudley area of the UK West Midlands. Circular signs like this are not so common.
See the pub


The Cat and Bagpipes, East Harlsey, North Yorks

The Cat and Bagpipes is in the North Yorkshire village of East Harlsey, not far from Northallerton. The name probably has nothing to do with cats, but might well be an abbreviation of 'Cattle and Bagpipes' from the days when Scottish drovers brought their cattle down to England and would have stopped at the pub. An alternative but possibly less likely explanation is that when border raids from Scotland into northern England were made, the skirl of bagpipes often meant 'The Cats are coming!' — 'Cats' being an abbreviation for the old Latin term catphractes, or troops. There's been a pub here since at least 1823, although the present building dates from the 1950s. Sign image courtesy of the Inn Sign Society.
Previous sign 2004
See the pub (courtesy of Pubs Galore)


The Cat, Enville

Another West Midlands Cat Inn, only a few miles from The Old Cat at Wordsley (above), is this comfortable-looking one from Enville, a village between Stourbridge and Bridgnorth. The inn was first mentioned in 1718, and it's perhaps from that time that a curious regulation prevented, for nearly 300 years, this pub from opening on Sundays. It was only in October 2004 that customers were able to enjoy their first Sunday pint. For a time in the nineteenth century the inn was known as the Cat & Partridge.
See the pub


The Star Inn, Liverton, Devon

There has been a pub on the site of the Star Inn for several centuries. The present one is a local country pub in the village of Liverton, situated on the edge of Dartmoor a few miles from the city of Exeter, in south-west England. Sign image courtesy of the Inn Sign Society.
See the pub (courtesy of Tim Jenkinson at Flickr where there's a larger version).


The Devonshire Cat, Sheffield, South Yorks

The Devonshire Cat is a modern town pub in Sheffield, South Yorkshire. There is no pictorial sign, but a cat silhouette is shown on the front windows.
See the pub


The Fat Cat, Alma Street, Sheffield

The Fat Cat is in Alma Street, Sheffield, Yorkshire, not far from the city centre. Although only a small place, it has won many awards, including 'Best Value Pub in Britain' and 'One of Top Five Urban Pubs in Britain'. A listed building and the outlet for the Kelham Island Brewery, it was originally known in the 1830s as the Kelham Tavern, and later the Alma Hotel, before becoming the Fat Cat in 1981: the pub's website has an interesting and comprehensive history page.
See the pub (courtesy of Dave Milner at Flickr where a larger version can be seen)


The Black Cat, Bedminster, Bristol

The Black Cat is a small, town pub in Bedminster, a district of Bristol, a major city in the south-west of England. The depiction of the cat is essentially the same as used for the Star Inn (above), although the background differs.
Older sign 1994, courtesy Inn Sign Society.
See the pub


The New Inn, Lower Denbigh Road, St Asaph, Denbighshire, North ~Wales

The New Inn is the first pub with a cat sign that we know of in North Wales. St Asaph is a small town on the river Elwy in Denbighshire; it has a cathedral and therefore used to have the status of a city, and was given back that title in the Queen's Jubilee Year of 2012. Sign image courtesy of the Inn Sign Society.
See the pub


The Pendle Witch, Sabden, Clitheroe, Lancs

The Pendle Witch is a pub in the village of Sabden, near Clitheroe in the Ribble Valley of the north-western English county of Lancashire. The name derives from the most famous (or infamous) witch trials in England, following which 11 witches were executed in 1612. Sabden is in the area from which the alleged witches came, and Pendle is a nearby hill associated with witchcraft. The sign shows a witch with her 'familiars', including a black cat.
See the pub


Gallery 2      Gallery 3      Gallery 4      Gallery 5

Cats that Got Away

NB: galleries are gradually being updated with new additions and amendments, and image sizes are also being increased.
All entries listed in Gallery 1 now have larger popup images, with the rest following in due course.

Alphabetical list of pubs and locations

Short history of British pub signs

Notes and Anecdotes
Additional information about particular 'cat signs' or pubs
(cross-linked with gallery entries)

Read about the adventures of Fleetwood who has visited over 80 pubs with his humans

If you know of any more pub signs depicting cats,
or have information about sign or name changes,
please !
All additions to or suggestions for the gallery gratefully received.

Drop in at our Facebook page

Grateful thanks are due to the Inn Sign Society for supplying and permission to reproduce images
of many pub signs from their archive. Where appropriate these are acknowledged in our text and/or within the enlarged images,
as are those from other sources if applicable, but otherwise all photos are our own.

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Our featured feline at the head of the page, having quite a lot of fun, is Ragamuffin, or Rags for short: sadly he's no longer with us. A cat of great character who seemed to live by the maxim 'Life is for living', it was devastating for me when that life was cut short by a road accident. A rescue cat, he lived with me in North Wales for less than four years only. You can see a little tribute to him here with a more flattering photo.

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Page created April 2004, with later revisions and additions