Tobermory Cat the claws are out

A Reply to this article from the publishers is below and should be read in a spirit of fairness to reply!

The Tobermory cat

is in the middle of a bit of an upset in Tobermory.  The cat itself, is a really friendly people loving Ginger cat that ‘hangs out’ on the main Street of Tobermory.  Gus Stewart, a rather imaginative but zany local artist has adopted the cat as a bit of an ‘art form’ and brought it to life, a bit like’ Bagpuss’ in blogs and Facebook features.  Why the ‘stooshy’ (upset) then?  Well an author in Edinburgh called Debi Gliori, has decide to write a book entitled ‘Tobermory Cat’.  So what, you may ask?  well, perhaps Gus Stewart might just have something to say about it, even though, the Author has said it is co-incidence?   Anyway, this may well have a bit to run as a news item worth watching?

Here is a copy of a letter from a lady from Germany, which highlights the feeling about the situation of Gus and the cat:

We are all really concerned about the fact, that an Edinburgh publisher and a children´s book author try to

claim the rights on the Tobermory Cat – what would be in fact robbery of creative work from the originally artist.

We all would love to see Tobermory Cat still as the official Tobermory mascot, as a creative work of Mr. Angus Stewart.

My question:

Do you think, you could support Mr. Angus Stewart somehow?

Tobermory Cat is a celebrity, a mascot of the Town of Tobermory. You can´t separate them.

A lot of people would be very sad, if the idea of this mascot and all the following

merchandising like postcards, books, cups, caps etc. would be claimed by an Edinburgh author.

Tobermory cat belongs to Tobermory and Angus Stewart, with all the legal rights on it.

Please take one moment to consider and decide if you could help to support the Tobermory Cat as one

wonderful attraction of the town. I – in the name of all the other T. C.-lovers – trust in your good attitudes

and the will to fight for the right thing.

Sincerely yours

Petra Segrodnik

from Germany

To find out more go to or,

The Reply to the article above from the publishing company

Dear Visit Mull

I would like to correct the numerous inaccuracies in the statements of Mr Stewart and in the letter published on your page:

1. The Tobermory Cat is a real cat. It lives on the Main Street of Tobermory. It is not owned by anyone and it was well known for its antics well before Mr Stewart set up a facebook page. If it belongs to anyone it belongs to the people of Tobermory.

2. Our idea for the book came before I had any awareness of Mr Stewarts facebook page.

3. Mr Stewart is making a series of claims regarding our use of his ‘creative concept’. We are not. We are not using one word or image from his site. We are doing a childrens book about a ginger cat in Tobermory. His cat speaks. Ours does not. The only overlap between us are two words – ‘Tobermory’ and ‘cat’. There is no copyright in title.

4. Mr Stewart is making a series of claims regarding a book of which he has seen not one illustration or one word.

5. We are not and have never sought to interfere in Mr Stewarts own exploitation of his site through his postcards or in any way he chooses. Why does he seek to interfere in others?

6. I understand there is a further producer of ‘Tobermory Cat’ material not subject to Mr Stewarts attentions. Why?

7. We have not sought at any stage to have his site taken down as he now appears to claim.

8. Mr Stewarts claims would imply that should I take pictures of Edinburgh Castle and run an ‘Edinburgh Castle’ Facebook page, I would after a few months be able to claim that any use of the words ‘Edinburgh Castle’ was now my creative copyright.

We have been subject, on the basis of a series of defamatory and inaccurate statements virally sent round the web, to personal abuse down the phone, vitriolic and offensive attack, smears and innuendo. I find this rather sad. Let me give a few facts about myself and Birlinn.

The concept of the book owes much to the local booksellers on Mull, and one in particular – Duncan Swinbanks. Duncan knows how much Balamory brought to the island and wanted something to take Mull round the world and bring people back to the island. We all know tourist numbers have suffered in recent years. Debi’s work is translated into some twenty languages and she is one of the finest childrens illustrators and writers in the country. Birlinn is not some large corporate. It is an Edinburgh publisher founded by me that publishes books on or about Scotland and its communities. I have been visiting Mull to sell books three times a year for the last twenty years and we have published many books on the island, not all commercial. I do this because I love Mull and the West Highlands. These books are sent round the world and do not simply just generate revenue for the shops on the island.

We had therefore thought that a book publicising Mull, produced to the highest quality, written with love and affection and sold round the world would be welcome to the people of Mull, to those who visit the island, and to all who love the Highlands and Islands. And so it has proved to all bar one person. I deeply regret that Mr Stewart has chosen this path rather than working with us as we offered him the chance to do. I deeply regret that he is unable to see the damage he is doing to his own reputation by his obsessive campaign. I deeply regret his lack of understanding of laws of copyright, his inability to explain what it is he is claiming to protect. I deeply regret the portrayal of Mull he projects in his comments.

There is however a limited amount I can do about this. It is up to the people of Mull and visitors to vote. This autumn they will have a beautiful gift book on their island and on Tobermory. It will feature one of the islands better known residents, and he and his island will be taken round the world in a book that advertises the island. In the back of the book will be all the many Tobermory people and businesses to whom I owe so much of a debt over the years and who have given us so much help and support. It is a work completely independent of any other and a tribute to a beautiful place.

I would merely ask them to consider the above and ask who is actually working for them?

Yours sincerely

Hugh Andrew



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