I bet you didn’t know there is a group dedicated to cats on stamps! I only found out recently, though the COSSU (Cats on Stamps Study Unit) celebrated their 40th anniversary not long ago. It’s been a well-kept secret, even for cat people like me who make a point of discovering obscure cat information wherever they can. Now I want to pass this discovery on to you!
COSSU is an international organization with members from about a dozen countries. It was founded in 1979 by Virginia Haywood, an enthusiastic stamp collector. COSSU publishes a newsletter, Cat Mews, four times a year.
I couldn’t wait to get my first issue of Cat Mews and was thrilled with the info it contained. Besides the many color and black-and-white photos of stamps and post marks, there is cat information as well. Cat Mews features breeds of cats and the stamps for those breeds. There are stamp stories about particular stamps, their origin and illustrators (this month featured Penelope Pussycat from Loony Tunes and her philatelic debut in Australia.) They also have cat book and cat art corners where authors and artists can present their creations. I will be in the November/December issue!
We may not have a lot of cat stamps here in the U.S. (though it turns out there are more than I thought), but COSSU shows stamps from all over the world, and they are amazing! Everything from Felix the Cat (Australia) to an American Curl (Grenada) to Spooky Black Cat Silhouette (USA, above, coming this autumn). Wild cats are also included, such as the Sand Cat (Liberia) and “Lion City” illustration by Tsu Soo Tan (Singapore).
Rarely do I read a magazine cover to cover, but Cat Mews just kept me going all the way through. Even if you don’t join, you can get a free PDF, but for $14 I love having the magazine that I can share with friends. I haven’t found anyone who isn’t just a little interested in cats on stamps.
How to join COSSU:
Dues: $14 U.S.
$18/1 year, Canada
$20/1 year all others
$10 E-version only, worldwide
Membership includes four (4) issues of Cat Mews.
PayPal is accepted: firstname.lastname@example.org