Interview with Peter Cole & Claire Barrie


How did you come up with the idea of Reigning Cats . . . and dogs?

Claire and I had previously collaborated on a card range which was licensed and distributed by UK-leading greetings company Paperlink, but for this range we decided to publish independently. We wanted complete creative control in order to create cards we loved and hoped others would love too. Pets bring so much simple joy to their owners, and it is so lovely to acknowledge, share and foster that. Our furry friends bring so much humour and love to our lives, and this is just what we hope our cards will bring to their recipients.

What inspires you?

We love the big personalities and quirky behaviour that our furry friends possess. They naturally provide a constant source of humour which we tap into to create cards that other pet owners can identify with and be tickled by. We wanted cards that celebrated this, and suspected that other people would too. So far our sales and pawsitive (sorry, couldn’t resist) customer feedback show this overwhelmingly to be the case. Cats and dogs are beautiful creatures, and a real joy to illustrate. Besides this, we think what makes cats and dogs such purrfect (Claire could have resisted, but I couldn’t) subjects for greeting cards is that they are, in essence, precisely what the best jokes should be, short and sweet. 

Do you remember the first cat/dog illustration?

Claire: I think the first idea I illustrated was the one with the curled up cat hogging the entire bed (“She’ll wake up feeling a little catty”). That was a regular occurrence for about 10 years of my life.


What keeps you creative?

Peter: For me it’s my love of wordplay and jokes and constantly looking for a new pun and way to twist a well-known phrase into something new.

Claire: daydreaming

Do you have a personally favourite card?

Peter: I think it has to be, ‘You have crossed the line . . . the feline.’ It contains all the best elements we want our cards to have; a simple illustration with short, witty wordplay.

Claire: I love ‘I’ve got strong felines for you’ and ‘Cat alone in Catalonia.’

What’s your favourite social network to promote your work?

We love sharing our work on Instagram as it’s all about the image. And, unlike twitter, there’s no word limit so you can add as many hashtags as you like.

Are you a dog or a cat person?

We both are/have been cat owners, but we love dogs too.

Peter: As soon as I get a bigger place I plan to get a dog. Hopefully one day not too far away. My first cat was a black witch’s cat called Mickey who had me under his spell ever since he allowed me to be his slave.

Claire: My cat was a very grumpy, cross-eyed, 3-legged Siamese called Flappy McWiggsbury.


How thortful are you feeling right now?

Peter: I’d say very. I’m thinking about what I want for breakfast, lunch and dinner tomorrow all at the same time. And they say men can’t multi-task.

What should we expect next from Reigning Cats . . . and dogs?

We are always busy working on new designs and hope to share our latest creations with our Thortful customers very soon. We are also exploring other gift avenues including calendars, books, coasters etc.


About you.

Name: Peter Cole.

City: London.

Favourite quote: ‘I told my Mother, “When I grow up I want to be a comedian.” She said, “You can’t do both.” ’

Dream destination: The inside of my brain. I’d like to journey to the centre of where all my dreams come from . . . Oh, hang on. Did you mean like where do I want to go on holiday? 

Favourite colour: Um? I’m colourblind so perhaps someone else should answer that one for me.

3 things you’d take on a desert island: A bowl, a spoon and a . . . oh wait, I think I may have misread what type of island this is.

Strangest moment I’ve experienced: Finding a single Kellogg’s rice krispie nestled amongst a box of coco pops. It’s been a thrilling life, it really has.

“I’d love to . . . (finish this quote): “I’d love to, but not with these shoes.”

Describe yourself in 3 words: Amazing mathematician.


About you.

Name: Claire Louise Barrie

City: Brighton

Favourite quote: “Don’t worry about tomorrow, today has enough trouble of its own.”

Dream destination: Cappadocia

Favourite colour: #519595

3 things you’d take on a desert island: kittens, gorgonzola, a helicopter

Strangest moment I’ve experienced: gawping at the northern lights

“I’d love to . . . (finish this quote):  cuddle a baby polar bear

Describe yourself in 3 words: hopefully quite nice.

Reigning Cats and Dogs on Social:



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