Charley and Billie
The story of Charley and Billie began in 2013 with the arrival of my two British shorthair cats, Charley (blue) and Billie (chocolate)! I struggled to find a high quality and functional cat scratcher which would compliment the traditional and contemporary surroundings of my home. Therefore, I had the idea to design and make my own. A cardboard cat scratcher was chosen because of the cat’s natural magnetism for this material (Dougherty, 2014). Shortly after designing the first prototype cat scratcher, the Leather-eared Mouse cat toy followed as a means of using up left-over cardboard and so – along with the leather – utilising upcycled materials.
As a result of the comments and encouragement received from family and friends, in 2014 I opened my Etsy shop to offer for sale the Charley and Billie Original Cat Scratcher and the Leather-eared Mouse cat toy. Within the following year I launched a collection of cat scratchers to include a polished stone base option, increased height, a geometric cuboid, and a horizontal cat scratcher, thus offering more choice for you and your cat.
More recently I released a collection of pet diners which build on the Charley and Billie brand for contemporary design with traditional materials by marrying together a solid oak base with stoneware bowls made by a local potter. The latest introduction – due to popular demand – was a solid black walnut option for the Original and Tall Cat Scratcher options.
Stay tuned as the story continues to grow with a collection of sisal cat scratchers due for launch in April 2017.
Handcrafted in the UK
Handcrafting is very much a home affair in the UK, with Charley and Billie always on hand with their antics. Imagine an incident when both cats sneaked into my store of hundreds of stacked cardboard inserts and the mess I encountered why they had the urge to dive in!
The design and choice of materials always begins with my vision to create quality products that not only function, but which are also visually aesthetic for you – where function and aesthetics fuse. Charley and Billie’s philosophy is guided by principles which relate to environmental impact. Meaning I choose to use:
- materials and services sourced locally (where possible);
- ethically sourced stone;
- recycled and recyclable cardboard;
- sustainably sourced timber;
- upcycled cardboard for handcrafting the Leather-eared Mouse;
- upcycled leather from the Mouseman of Kilburn for handcrafting the Leather-eared Mouse;
- re-usable postal tubes as smart packaging.
My appreciation for different art forms transposes into the 2-dimensional world of drawing which – when time permits – is another aspect of my life. Initially, my work had its foundations built on pencil drawings: commissions for portraits, pet portraits, and animals and plants of the natural environment. The portfolio includes a commission of postcards and greetings cards for The Mouseman of Kilburn (Robert Thompson’s Craftsmen Ltd) in which I brought the oak mice of their celebrated furniture to life. My artwork has now evolved to include my own experiences and observations of the natural environment with emphasis on the inter-relationship between animals and plants. In effect, within each drawing a story is being illustrated.
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Founder | Owner | Designer | Maker
Dougherty, J. (2014) The Facts About Declawing and the Alternatives. [Internet] Maryland, PAW (Partnership for Animal Welfare). Available from http://www.paw-rescue.org/declaw_paper.php [Accessed 3 April 2015].