Category Archives: Design

Martin Delany, cat-lover


Four times in as many months, I’ve met somebody new-to-me and got on really well with them.  Then, at the end of our chat, they handed me their contact card – a little Vistaprint type card, or sometimes a postcard.  Since my aim is for me to get out and about much more, I decided to get a card done myself … and they arrived earlier in the week.  I’m very excited!  Or I was – a free metal cardholder was offered, to keep the cards fresh, and it didn’t come – and then I was excited again as there was a freephone number to ring if there were any problems.  Nowadays, if people provide a freephone number, you just know they’re serious about customer service.  And so it proved – I’ve just had an email confirming the little card holder is on its way.

The back of my card shows a quote from a man named Martin Delany:

“If we treated everyone we meet with the same affection we bestow upon our favorite cat, they, too, would purr.”

Martin Delany quote

What an amazing way of putting things!  Succint.  Humane.  Thoughtful.  Empathic.  He was quite a man, Martin Delany.  He was an African-American abolitionist, journalist and writer, born as early as 1812 in West Virginia, and born a slave: his father purchased the family’s freedom in 1823, when Martin was 11, then moved to Pennsylvania in search of a better life.


He had an amazing life: he published his own anti-slavery newspaper in the 1840s; he went to Harvard Medical School (but pressure on the faculty meant he was asked to leave after only a few months); stiill, he worked as a physician during cholera epidemics in Pittsburgh, when some qualified doctors had fled; he lived in Canada but returned from there to become an army officer for the North in the American Civil War, helping to recruit black soldiers, and afterwards worked for the Freedmen’s Bureau, helping freed slaves.   Thank goodness he lived to see the end of slavery: he died in Ohio in 1885.

And in spite of the hard life he led, born in slavery and constantly on the move, one of his most famous quotes is about treating everyone with respect and even love – the same love we give when we’re stroking a cat.  He was an astonishing man; he deserves to be up there with the great campaigners of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Having a quote from a man like him on my card, is just a reminder that we can often see what people are really like by the way they treat animals.


This post was originally published two years ago.  Still true, though.

Banners, past and present

When I first started blogging about cats, I had a great time putting together pictures I’d taken to create a fairly detailed (a.k.a. quite messy) blog header.  Scroll forward a year, with a new home for the blog, and I want something quite different.  I want the header I have now – very simple, very cat-focussed, and very happy.  It’s actually a detail from the statue of Dick Whittington and his cat outside Guildhall Art Gallery, and I think it’s a lovely little thing.

The others were gorgeous in their way, naturally!  This was the first:

banner the first one on the old blog

There are a couple of neighbourhood cats I liked, a pair of cats at a harbourside cafe in Hania, in Crete, the motif on a sparkly duvet cover of mine, and a statue in Cardiff, which drapes over a wall.

Then there was the second:

cropped-final-banner on the old blog

One of the neighbour’s cats stayed in, in a different photo, the duvet cover and the statue stayed in, but they were bookended by photos of my own cats, Willow and Jessie.  It was even bittier though!  So I went for simple and classy with the one I have now, with a crop of this photo:

The Beautiful Cat

A new home for my cat blog

This is my new cat home online!  Right here, on the doorstep.  I’m writing other things too, and Real Life has definitely got in the way, but I love cats too much to not write about them.

Today, for instance, a neighbour called round: his little tortoiseshell cat is very pregnant, and didn’t come home last night.  He thinks she may have slunk off somewhere to have her kits in private, and I can understand his thinking.  She’s so bouncy and inquisitive, I thought she was a male kitten!

Anyway, my shed is falling apart, and has lots of nooks and crannies for a pregnant little cat to hide, so we had a proper look in there.  No joy yet, but I’m keeping an eye out.

In the meantime, I wanted to make a new banner for this new website, which used to be a basic level WordPress site.  It’s still basic WordPress, of course, but at least I have hosting now.  Hosting cats … I like it.

The banner here, by the way, is a detail from the statue of Dick Whittington and his cat outside the Guildhall Art Gallery in London.  The Gallery’s closed, but the statue lives on.

I have quite a few posts to transfer onto here gradually, and I’ve also been doing a lot of poking about the country and the web, looking at cats.   The results will be on here, pictures and designs and research, all of it.

In a couple of days, I’ll post some photos I took last week, in Cley Next The Sea – cats galore, of all sorts.  I loved it, I hope you do too.