From the Archive
March/April 2000 Review
[ go to Part 1 ]
The first in a series of articles about cats on stamps that I wrote for The Cat magazine in the UK from 2000 to 2003. The series has since been continued on this website.
This article sets the scene by describing the first stamps to appear showing cats (see part 1), and then continues with the new issues at the beginning of 2000 (part 2, this page). All the printed articles are now available here and fully illustrated, whereas only selected stamps could be pictured in the magazine.
I will usually write only about stamps issued recently, but one from 1998 deserves mention. The miniature sheet (MS) accompanying a set from Angola shows a Turkish Van cat swimming, which we haven't had on stamps before. Most cats avoid water whenever possible, but those of the Lake Van area in western Turkey enjoy a dip in hot weather.
In the Sept/Oct 1999 issue of The Cat, James Mackay mentioned the lovely cats set from Antigua & Barbuda. A second sheetlet of six has now appeared, just as much fun as the first one, with kittens playing in the margins as well as on the stamps themselves a welcome change from many cat stamps which, although beautiful, are just passive poses.
Cambodia has come up with another attractive set of six and an MS to follow last year's; the MS of an Egyptian Mau has an Egyptian cat statue in the margin.
Celebrating the major stamp show Philexfrance in July, France produced an elaborate presentation pack containing a souvenir sheet of art masterpieces; no cats were on the actual stamps, but the margin had an Egyptian cat here, too, repeated in miniature on the front. The pack makes a handsome addition to any collection.
African countries have released several cats sets of late. Burkina Faso, formerly Upper Volta, is new to the cat stamp scene (left), with two sets (or maybe two parts of the same set?). One is a sheetlet of six, plus MS, while the other has four rather attractive sepia designs featuring kittens and puppies, another sheetlet of six and two kitten MSs. Liberia is another newcomer, with four single stamps, sheetlet of six (right) and MS; and Niger has a sheetlet of nine (for picture, see July/August 2000 review).
Togo came up with six attractive and unusual triangular designs (left) and an MS, and the Central African Republic gave us most recently a group of high-value cat stamps forming part of a larger group featuring dogs and horses as well (outer right). And Tanzania has issued some more of its lengthy 'Cats of the World' series, one of which is a pretty little group of four entitled 'Cats of the East' (inner right).
Rounding up some other 1999 cat issues: Armenia had one cat and one dog on a recent pair; the Netherlands continued its children's welfare stamps, one of which has a cartoon cat; Singapore also went in for cartoons with a booklet of 'local post' stamps. One pictures a cat, a dog and a human under the heading 'Be Kind to Animals', a sentiment we all endorse.
New Zealand's 1999 Health stamps featured children's books, one being 'The Greedy Cat', with appropriate picture (left); and St Vincent & the Grenadines offered a tribute to UNICEF's 50th anniversary with a set that includes a little girl cuddling a kitten (right).
There were three sheetlets of nine stamps and a couple of MSs from Madagascar, Mali and Guinea, all showing the cartoon cat everyone loves to hate: Garfield. I don't know how valid these are for postage, but they are fun!
Japan quite often comes up with little cats tucked away on her stamps, and I found one on a set of comic strip cartoons entitled Shomon-rai-fuku. One of them has Mr Kobee, the Fault Finder, finding fault with the length of his cat's tail!
Finally, I think pride of place for 1999 must go to Malaysia, with a dignified set of three cat breeds found there (not pictured), and the most stunning pair of miniature sheets, which really have to be seen together (below) for their full effect.
Enjoy your collecting!
Back to Part 1 of this review