Cats on Stamps

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Patrick Roberts

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From the Archive

January 2002 Review

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The cat stamps keep on appearing, and here is another round-up of recent issues up until December 2001.

Mali 2000: sheetlet of 6 cat portraits Central African Republic 2000: sheetlet of 6 cat portraits Two late arrivals just recently were quite pleasing sheetlets each of six full portraits from Mali (this actually dated 2000, left) and the Central African Republic (right), both countries that have given us a number of agreeable cat stamps in the past. These two sets look as though they are by the same designer. The Mali issue, as with many from that country, can also be found imperforate (shown).

Uganda: one of two sheetlets of 6 portraits forming part of Feline Friends set Staying in Africa, it's several years since Uganda last featured any cats, but now there has been a set under the title Feline Friends, with two single stamps, two miniature sheets (MSs), and the now-familiar pair of sheetlets of six with a composite design. These seem to be paintings, slightly stylised, and I personally did not find them all that attractive.

Guyana: The Wizard of Oz from a group of 12 Mss showing Hello Kitty's Fairy Tales Last time I mentioned Guyana's prolific issues, thinking that there might be a gap before there were any more: but instead we have no fewer than 12 miniature sheets featuring a character called Hello Kitty — a children's story favourite originating in Japan. 'Hello Kitty's World of Fairy Tales' comprises six Western tales including Cinderella and The Wizard of Oz, and six Japanese stories with which I am not familiar. These sheets are very much in the style of illustrations in books for young children.

A cat and dog feature prominently on this Cayman Islands Humane Society stamp advocating neutering and spaying There has never before been a cat on a stamp from the West Indian Cayman Islands, but now one of a set of five devoted to non-profit organisations there features the Cayman Humane Society, with a cat and other animals; the same stamps are on the MS.

Singapore: sheetlet of 4 stamps and 6 labels showing numerous pets, including several cats From Singapore comes a composite design showing a remarkable and most unlikely room, overflowing with pets! There's everything from ducklings to a tortoise here — including a kitten and two other cats — spread over four denominated stamps together with six NVI ('no value indicated') labels, which are inscribed 'for local addresses only'. A novel idea is that the labels (but not the stamps) come in a self-adhesive form, on a sheet with ten stamp-shaped templates. You can select the label you want, stick it onto the template and peel the whole thing off to affix to your mail. One of the cats from the Pets sheet is also on a couple of the labels.

Israel: black cat from group of 4 children's paintings entitled Children Paint Dreams German birthday boy Felix and his green cat, which takes him on a fantastical journey All the other new issues this time are from a bit nearer home. There's a quite presentable black cat on a sheetlet of four children's paintings from Israel, entitled 'Children Paint Dreams' and produced for the Philanippon 2001 stamp exhibition (left); while Germany presented, on its annual children's stamp, a stylish green cat with red spots, and the inscription — in German, of course — 'For Us Children' (right). It represents a birthday present for little boy Felix (standing on the cat's head!), and it takes him on a 'fantastical journey'.

Norway: three white kittens on one of two pets stamps Norway released two small stamps of domestic animals; one has three delightful white kittens (left), while the other shows a goat apparently trying to eat a man's hat!

The irrepressible Tom and Jerry, from a Dutch booklet pane of 5 self-adhesive stamps and a label In August 2001 the Netherlands gave us a delightful set of six self-adhesives depicting cartoon characters, with the irrepressible Tom and Jerry on one stamp (right).

Bosnia and Herzegovina: a cat apparently 'getting the boot' on a sheetlet of 5 cartoon stamps Another sheet of five intriguing stamps comes from Bosnia and Herzegovina. I wish I could understand the inscriptions, but I believe the generic title means 'Write me', or something similar. One stamp has a grey cat and a large boot, although I'm glad to say it isn't actually in contact with the cat!

Microprinting on a stamp from the Great Britain set of 6 celebrating 100 years of Nobel prizes Great Britain has done us proud with cats over the past year. Starting with 'Cats and Dogs' early in 2001, we then had 'Raining Cats and Dogs' in the Weather set; and in July the well-known original 'Smilers' stamps — including the Cheshire Cat — were reissued in a new sheetlet format with changed perforations. And while you may not have realised it, the October 2001 Nobel Prize Centenary issue, which demonstrated various different printing techniques, had a strong feline connection! The 45p. one, in honour of the Nobel Prize for Literature, uses microprinting in lithography and contains in miniature the whole text of T.S. Eliot's 'The Ad-dressing of Cats' (pictured). You'll need a very good magnifier — or a scanner at large magnification — to read it, but it's all there. In January 2002 we will be treated to the Rudyard Kipling issue, with The Cat that Walked by Himself.

Cat wearing a crown, noting the Austrian animal charity Krone and its 'cat house' in Vienna Finally, there is this splendid single stamp from Austria, with 'King Cat' in crown and ermine cloak. What more needs to be said? Actually, though, it is interesting to know that the crown is an allusion to a feral cat rescue project in Austria called 'Krone', or crown. It is run by an animal charity together with the Austrian Veterinary Chamber, and they run a 'cat house' in Vienna for up to 300 cats prior to rehoming them. Part of the proceeds from the stamp sale will go to this worthy project.


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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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Article written and first published during 2002: reproduced here by the author from August 2004