Tobermory Cat

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Tobermory Cat
Tobermory Cat official Facebook logo.jpg
Tobermory Cat's Facebook logo
Created byAngus Stewart
In-universe information
OccupationCelebrity cat, "famous for being famous"

Tobermory Cat is the name of a celebrity ginger cat used as an "evolving, interactive artwork" [1] by Scottish artist Angus Stewart. [2]



The Distillery Cats originally lived at The Tobermory Distillery Tobermory on Mull, Argyll, Scotland, [3] their two ginger cats were named Tobermory and Ledaig after two whiskies produced at the Tobermory Distillery. The cat named Tobermory remained at the distillery while Ledaig later moved to Browns Hardware Shop. A third ginger cat known as "McGinty" or the Mishnish Cat lived at Mishnish Hotel. Together these three similar ginger cats became a single fictional cat character named Tobermory Cat through a Facebook page created by Angus Stewart. Currently there are two cats, (Tobermory having been killed in September 2012). [4]

Angus Stewart's Facebook page entitled Tobermory Cat, created 25 Feb 2011. Due to the Facebook page and promotional merchandise the name Tobermory Cat became widely used by visitors and residents of Tobermory. He published a book, Tobermory Cat subtitled famous for being famous, published 22 September 2012, Tobermory Cat Publishing, Softback, 52 pages, ISBN   0957463103. There is also a later illustrated children's book produced under a licensing agreement, The Tobermory Cat published 12 October 2012, by Debi Gliori published by Birlinn. Birlinn, Limited, Hardback, 32 pages, ISBN   1780270992. An earlier work (with no association to the town) featuring a troublesome talking cat named 'Tobermory' appeared in a collection of short stories by Saki titled The Chronicles of Clovis in 1911. [5] [6] [7] [8]

Angus Stewart's Tobermory Cat

On 25 February 2011, Tobermory artist Angus Stewart created a Facebook page and viral marketing project entitled "Tobermory Cat" [9] containing photoshopped images of the famous for being famous celebrity cat. As the Facebook page gained popularity the character became an "internet sensation", [2] attracting regional and national press coverage in The Guardian [6] and BBC Scotland's television news programme Reporting Scotland. [10] [11] Stewart's artistic creation is a parody of celebrity culture based largely on the T.V. persona of Donald Trump, his brand and use of promotion. The famous Tobermory Cat lived in T.C.Towers and enjoyed the trappings of fame such as paparazzi photographers and a helicopter seen delivering cat books and postcards around Scotland. The work was fabricated using photoshopped images of the everyday antics of three cats in a work usually set in Tobermory however during Spring 2012 Tobermory Cat was seen traveling around the world, the cat having been photoshopped into images supplied by Facebook followers around the world. The resulting photographs are described using exaggerated celebrity terms, the premise being that by repeatedly describing a cat as famous it will become famous. The fictional work is narrated by the second assistant tea maker at T.C.Management and explores the nature of the construct of celebrity through a fictional cat who is simply "famous for being famous". [12] [13] Having created and promoted his fictional work, Angus Stewart registered the web domain 22 November 2011, registered as a company Tobermory Cat Ltd 19 March 2012 and applied for the Tobermory Cat Trade Mark on 23 March 2012.

As part of the creative work, the artist documented the process of creating and promoting his fictional celebrity cat on the Facebook page. In December 2011 a prominent Scottish publisher and a children's book illustrator visited the artist with a view to producing a series of children's books about the famous Tobermory Cat. There followed a long running legal dispute centering on creative rights leading to publisher Birlinn challenging the artists trademark "Tobermory Cat" in both the UK and USA. The impact of the dispute became a prominent theme on Stewart's Tobermory Cat Facebook page.

Tobermory Cat is now a registered UK trademark held by Angus Stewart. The dispute over the rights and attribution of the work was covered in the media during November 2012. Birlinn raised an opposition action against Angus Stewart's Tobermory Cat trademark at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on 30 October 2014. On 27 July 2015 a public statement was released by both parties, the matter having been resolved by means of a license agreement. [1] [6] [10] [11]

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  1. 1 2 Stewart, Angus (2012). "Tobermory Cat, the world's first famous for being famous celebrity cat". Retrieved 2012-11-01.
  2. 1 2 Harrison, Jody (10 May 2012). "Fur flies over creative rights for Tobermory's ginger cat". The Herald . Retrieved 2012-10-31.
  3. Staff (22 July 2010). "Tails from an Island: Tobermory Replaces Iconic Sign". PRLog Press Release Distribution. Retrieved 2012-11-02.
  4. Munro, Alistair (29 September 2012). "Internet star Tobermory Cat dies". The Herald . Retrieved 2014-08-02.
  5. Tobermory written by Hector Hugh Munro (1870–1916), who wrote as Saki.
  6. 1 2 3 Flood, Alison (30 October 2012). "Cat at centre of bitter children's book scrap". The Guardian . Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved 2012-10-31.
  7. Saki. "Tobermory by Saki". Literature of the Fantastic. Retrieved 2012-11-01. The story may be found in The Chronicles of Clovis.
  8. Saki. "Tobermory by Saki". Literature of the Fantastic. Retrieved 2012-11-01.
  9. Stewart, Angus (25 February 2011). "Tobermory Cat". Facebook page. Archived from the original on December 8, 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-02.
  10. 1 2 Staff (7 November 2012). "Untitled (about the Tobermory cat)" (iPlayer video). Reporting Scotland. BBC Scotland . Retrieved 2012-11-08. The programme was broadcast at 6:30pm, UK time, on 7 November 2012. The piece runs from 24:33 onwards and was available online until 6:59pm on Thursday 8 November 2012.
  11. 1 2 Staff (7 November 2012). "Buaireadh mu chat ann am Muile" (video). BBC Naidheachdan. BBC Television . Retrieved 2012-11-08. The BBC Scotland piece is also available in this Gaelic language version. (in Scottish Gaelic)
  12. Munro, Alistair (10 May 2012). "Artist accuses writer of stealing cat story idea from Facebook". The Scotsman . Retrieved 2012-10-31.
  13. Staff. "Tobermory Cat the claws are out". Explore Mull. Retrieved 2012-10-31.