Where did Ruff & Mews go from Petco's new logo?

petco logos

Erastus Kingbolt wrote about Petco’s latest logo dissolution in his Systems Theory newsletter. Where once Ruff and Mews once sat, now we are left with a generic blue wordmark:

Cold and lifeless is a fair description, isn’t it? There are absolutely no friendly animals, the font is somehow even more sterile than it was beforeand in place of the already watered-down red there is the inanimate blue of Marshalls and USPS. The jokes about the health and wellness part write themselves, but I will say that even the CEO doesn’t seem to think that it’s true. “We’re transitioning from being a company that asks, ‘Can I help you put that big bag of dog food into your cart?’ into a full health and wellness company,” he told Fortune. “Today, Petco is the ONLY complete health and wellness company for pets,” he wrote in the opening letter of the IPO filing. A few more times and he’ll be convinced.

I love a wordmark logo but not as a progression from something that already works. Petco’s original logo with its jellied red text and happy-go-lucky pets was playful, fun, and engaging (you rarely see a cat and dog so chummy together). But now it’s just like any other logo. Before you knew Petco was for pets before you even saw the word—great for non-English speakers—but now you assume it’s for pets, despite the vague tagline underneath.

People showed disdain but I don’t see the new branding causing significant damage to Petco. It’s just a shame that another brand has fallen foul of the dreaded Minimalist Logo Syndrome.

Pet related: when pets wore masks during the 1918 flu pandemic

Pets wore masks during the 1918 flu pandemic

Cat in a flu mask from Dublin, California (1918)

(Content warning: the following article contains reports of animal death)

Do you have pets and, if so, are they wearing masks to protect them from coronavirus? The answer is likely “no” for the majority of pet owners but back in 1918, people were protecting their pooches and pussy cats against the notorious flu pandemic (known as the H1N1 virus) that infected around 1/3 of the world’s population.

Quarantine wasn’t an option like it is today so every man, woman, child and their dog wore masks as they ventured outdoors. We know at least during the current pandemic that while pets can contract the virus, and dogs are more susceptible, it has only been tested in a controlled environment and masks would be more trouble than they’re worth (have you tried putting a collar on a cat?)

But during the flu pandemic of 1918, people worried their pets could carry the virus, with one Pennsylvania councilman claiming that dogs and cats were responsible for its spread across the country. His solution? Shaving or killing pets to prevent further infections. This sensationalist rhetoric lead to many peopling killing strays and some putting their own pets down.

But for the pets that survived, a few became local celebrities. A baseball game between Pasadena and Standard Murphy featured the mascot’s dog (below):

Groups of big league players and one of the umpires who participated in the first "masked" ball game. Featuring Carl Sawyer with masked mascot's masked dog.
Image from The Library of Congress

There was also Yancia, a Boston bulldog from Seattle and this cool Californian cat (below):

I wonder how long it took to put that mask on (from Dublin Heritage Park & Museum)

Not quite as fashionable as this fetching dog from 2019. And yes, it’s wearing a Supreme sweater, shorts, and trainers:

Pussy and Her Language - A Pamphlet For Cats

Ever heard of Marvin R. Clark? Probably not. But in 1895, he self-published “Pussy and Her Language”, a publication teaching cat owners how to treat their feline friends. He was a cat lover himself and his intention with the pamphlet was to give “one out of a million Cats” a good name. Here are some quotes from the 150-page book:

“I have already given seventeen of the most important words of the feline language, with their English equivalents, as follows:

Aelio – Food.
Lae – Milk.
Parriere – Open.
Aliloo – Water.
Bl – Meat.
Ptlee-bl – Mouse meat.
Bleeme-bl – Cooked meat.
Pad – Foot.
Leo – Head.
Pro – Nail or claw.
Tut – Limb.
Papoo – Body.
Oolie – Fur.
Mi-ouw – Beware.
Purrieu – Satisfaction or content.
Yow – Extermination.
Mieouw – Here.”

“According to the primal order of speech and the manner of the construction of sentences in the Cat language, you will hear such utterances as these: ‘Milk give me,’ ‘Meat I want,’ ‘Mary I love,’ ‘Going out, my mistress?’ ‘Sick I am,’ ‘Happy are my babies,'”

“Your Noah Webster, who padded your dictionary in order to make a formidable book, like many another man, says that animals are not possessed of reasoning powers, but have only instinct. […] This is your American authority, and you must accept it, for you have adopted the dictionary. By this definition, and with only one question, I will prove to you that animals have reasoning powers, just as men have.”

(via Atlas Obscura)

Possibly The First Ever Cat Video From 1894?

Professor Welton’s Boxing Cats (1894)

The video, filmed by none other than Thomas Edison, shows two cats “boxing.” But don’t worry, no actual punches took place, just gentle swipes in boxing gloves for about 30 seconds. Amongst his plethora of inventions, he was also a filmmaker. This cat video is probably the least strange and least harmful of his collection.

Of all the things I can imagine cats doing in a video, boxing isn’t one of them. But Thomas Edison had other ideas (even if some of them were stolen *ahem*).

*whispers* I still prefer Nikola Tesla.