Dog is a cat. The only problem is he doesn't behave like one. Instead he wags his tail when happy, sticks out his tongue when confused and yaps just like a puppy whenever he gets excited.
Something must be done!
Against his better instincts, an old ginger tom called George decides to take on the task of teaching the kitten how to behave like a proper cat. After all, the pride of the species is at stake.
With the help of cheeky stray Eric, the mysterious François and the beautiful Miss Fifi, George gives Dog lessons in cat manners - but all does not go well. Maybe Dog will find it impossible to change?
Soon the cats face a more pressing threat, and one that will change their lives forever.
A Cat Called Dog is a great fun book suitable for children and cat lovers of all ages.
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About the Author
Jem Vanston is a former teacher who now runs his own editing and proof reading agency. He is an occasional freelance journalist and has had pieces published in magazines such as Your Cat and The Cat, as well as various newspapers and other publications (www.thedailymews.com). He writes satirical novels and scripts as PJ Vanston, and has won several prizes for his short stories. He is also a published songwriter. Born and brought up in Kent, Jem now lives in Swansea with his two rescue cats, Honey and Bumble, who do their best to distract him from writing - or getting anything else productive done - whenever and however they can.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A Cat Called Dog by Jem Vanston is an unputdownable read. The pace is set from the very first chapter as a little kitten-cat who doesn’t realise he’s a cat chances upon the garden wall of old George. George has high standards of feline behaviour and is appalled at Dog’s uncatlike behaviour. So he makes it his mission to teach the little kitten-cat all that he needs to know to become the best feline he can be. With an eclectic cast who help to ‘heducate’ Dog, one-eyed Cockney Eric, the stray, Francois, the widely travelled French cat, and Madame Fifi, whom George, Eric and Francois are all in love with, all help George in his seemingly unending task to undoglike Dog to make him more cat like. According to George, the Holy Trinity for felines is washing, eating and sleeping and there are very strict rules which must be adhered to in order to ensure they are carried out properly. George’s Lady has her head turned by a new man friend whom George takes an instant dislike to, with good reason, as it soon becomes apparent that the man is up to no good. First he begins by making sure that George isn’t given access to the cat flap and then he starts doing things which – eventually – the cats are able to show the Lady to help her realise that this is not the man for her. It’s a wonderful story and Jem told me that the characters are composite of cats he’s known throughout his life. Eric is based upon his own mother, not that she is a stray, you understand! She had a cataract operation which went wrong and it left her blind in one eye. Jem’s innate understanding of cats has enabled him to draw five wonderful characters, all totally believable and their behaviour is totally credible. We learn why Dog is called Dog; we learn that Eric is not really a black and grey stray cat, when after an accident which finds him immersed in the fish pond, his fur is suddenly fluffy, black and white – resembling that of a Persian. Suddenly he has a pedigree despite his happiness at rolling in the nasturtium bed and lying on slugs and worms. There are some great observations which George shares with Dog about how ‘two-legs’ live; shocked at the smell room (bathroom) and horrified at the way two-legs wash themselves by lying a bath of water, and many other wittily observed behavioural traits we humans knowingly or unknowingly, show to the master superior race – the Feline! Underlying what appears to be a simple story of a confused little kitten embarking on a journey to become a fully fledged cat, there is a subtle sub text about acceptance, good and evil, and a whole host of other moral issues. It is incredibly well done and all credit to Jem for a really good and funny book. This is a feel-good book with a happy ending and I can’t wait to read more about George, Dog, Eric, Francois and Madame Fifi.
“There’s no use cutting off your tail to spite your bottom.” I read this entire short novel with my mouth set in a permanent smile. I bet I looked like a freak, grinning like the village idiot; but trust me when I tell you it’s nearly impossible to read this cute little story without smiling the whole time or laughing out loud at the snark and puns so generously sprinkled throughout A Cat Called Dog. The title alone had me grinning! Two things I noticed right away. The first is that it’s very much written in the fashion of Roald Dahl’s books, and secondly, for some strange reason I had Neil Gaiman narrating the story for me in my head. Go figure! “A cat must behave like a cat, not like a dog-it is the way things are. And the way to achieve a change, and to help this kitten become a cat, is education.” “Being un-heducated never done me no ‘arm”, muttered Eric. “That’s a matter of opinion,” said George-rather cattily, Dog thought. The characters each have their own distinct personalities, quirks and traits, and easily made their way into my heart. From George the sophisticated old ginger tom, Francois the well-traveled, refined tabby with a French accent, Eric the “un-heducated” stray, to a she-cat called Fifi. With their personalities at opposite ends of the spectrum, the laughs just kept coming. And, of course, the star of the show: Dog – a little kitten-cat who wags his tail when he’s happy, pokes his tongue out puppy-fashion, and whose brave is much bigger than he is. Together, this ragtag group of felines sets about to save the day, and in the process become the best of friends. A Cat Called Dog is a delightfully charming read suitable for both cat- and dog lovers of all ages. It also makes for a wonderful bedtime story for younger readers. For the novice cat-person, this book can serve as a guide jam-packed with interesting cat facts and tidbits, albeit in the form of an entertaining story. I highly recommend this novel for anyone looking for an uplifting read that will brighten up their day and leave them with a different perspective on people (or two-legs, as humans are referred to in this little gem) and life in general, through the eyes of a feline. Though the story itself merits a four-star rating only, the author’s knowledge of cat behavior ups the aforementioned rating to a well-deserved five stars, which makes this a definite must-read!