Cat World December 2017 writes about A Cat Called Dog 2:


"Once again, the story highlights the importance of loyalty, friendship and doing the right thing, even though the right thing may not be what you want to do. It is beautifully written with humour, sensitivity and believable characters. This is truly an adventure that will entertain adults and children alike."


The review states "It reads brilliantly well"; "the story is delightful." has 5 star reviews:


NetGalley also has 5 star reviews:


JL (USA) states: "My 7 year old read this and loved it! When I requested this book I didn’t realize how long it was. I thought it might be to much for her but she devoured it! She absolutely loves the kittens she thought they were really funny. Highly recommend this book for your kids!"



Princess Fuzzypants (USA) states: "Dog is a great character. He was brought up amongst dogs so he has a gift of being able to understand and communicate. It is a nifty skill that comes in handy more than one time. The kittens are so cute and George is so wise. In fact, all the kitties are great.
I can recommend this book for the young and young at heart.. I give it five purrs and two paws."


PW review on October 30th 2017:

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Full Text:
Very cute story for the young and the cats lovers of all ages. Dog, a cat who acts like a dog and his friends head out on an adventure to find 3 kittens. Things don't always go smoothly in this children's thriller but it's works out in the end. I think kids starting from about 8 or 9 years old will love this book. There are several cute black and white pictures throughout the book.



Reviews for A Cat Called Dog (original book 2013 with red cover; illustrated child-friendly version 2015 with cartoony cover)

Review of 2013 A CAT CALLED DOG (red cover) from August 2016. 

THE INQUISITIVE NEWT – Children's book reviews for curious little people. Review by Fran Moldaschl, a prize-winning author and an archaeology student at the University of Aberdeen


'This was a really interesting read – not because of the plot (though admittedly, that was perfectly adequate) but because it was self-published and until now, I didn’t realise that libraries carried self-published titles.

So let’s back up a bit. Confession time – I used to work for a “vanity publisher”.

It was horrible. When I started, I was fresh out of university, incredibly naive and I thought I had landed the job of the century. The people who owned (and, I presume, still own) the company did everything they could to hide the nature of the publishing contracts from the employees and so for the longest time, I had no idea what I was a part of – namely a process designed to con writers out of their money in exchange for sloppily produced books. When I figured it out I quit immediately, but I’ve felt really awkward about self-published work ever since – guilty, I think, because I worry the author has been somehow fleeced.



So, I was slow to start reading ‘A Cat called Dog’ for this reason. In my head, I sort of amalgamated the authors I’d worked with into one human called Jem Vanston and felt terrible about myself every time I went to pick the book up.

But I promised I’d read what Husband chose for me, and so I took a step back and got stuck in.

And honestly, I was really impressed. As I say, I’ve been avoiding self-published works for years but the quality of the editing was superb. For example, I only found one typo in the whole thing – a feat which many large companies fail to accomplish. The cover was good and whilst I would never have selected the book based on the blurb, it obviously worked on Husband.

It’s like a whole new world of stories has opened before me.

But anyway… back to this book.

It’s the antithesis of anything I would have ever chosen myself – a small, quaint story about talking animals. That said, it wasn’t unreadable, wasn’t boring (as, to be honest, I’d feared) and it was quick – a much underrated quality in a world full of things vying for our attention.

The plot follows a small kitten-cat called Dog as an older tom – George – teaches him the fine art of being a feline. Along the way, George’s place in his family home is threatened by the arrival of a fiance. When it becomes evident that the fiance is not all he appears, George, Dog and a cast of other cats set out to foil The Man’s plan.

It was a fun little tale, though I can’t help but feel that had the author neglected to add the section about sex and catnip, it could have been a really workable piece of children’s fiction – aimed at solid readers in a younger age-group, such as Daughter. It’s really difficult to find things for her to read which are a) thematically appropriate for an eight year old and b) linguistically complex enough to satisfy. Though a real lover of fiction, she tends to spend a lot of time reading non-fiction as this is an easy eay to cover both bases.

Regardless – whilst I wouldn’t go out of my way to recommend this, or to own a copy myself, I remain really glad that I’ve read it. It represents opportunity.'



Maria Fitzgerald, Cat World Magazine, Issue 427, October 2013

'I found myself laughing out loud at some of Dog's antics and his character reminded me of a young child caught up in the excitement of life. [...] There are adventures, wonderful characters to meet on the way and also unexpected sadness very much like true life really. [...] I read many books and thoroughly enjoyed this one, from cover to cover.'

Jill Murphy,
'This is a lovely, sweet, heartwarming book. It will make you happy to read it, regardless of whether you're a cat person or a dog person, or even neither. And in these financially-straitened times, what more could you want? [...] This is a story for cat-lovers everywhere. It's full of funny and accurate details that will strike a chord with any cat owner.'

South Wales Evening Post, August 2013
'Nothing shaggy about this dog story! Its potential has echoes in it of recovering drug addict James Bowen's writing success story told in his award-winning book, A Street Cat Named Bob.'


For radio interviews, press releases and cuttings, go here:


Louise Elliot, BBC Wales:

‘The book’s charming – it’s lovely...’

‘Really witty, entertaining and not just for cat lovers.’


Hannah Murray, The Book Show, Talk Radio Europe:

‘A delightful book!’

‘A Cat Called Dog is an unputdownable read. It’s a wonderful story. Jem’s innate understanding of cats has enabled him to draw five wonderful characters, all totally believable and their behaviour is totally credible.

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.’


Pixxie Penguin Blog:

‘Read it and enjoy it. It’s so funny, entertaining, and gives a great perspective to cats all around the world. Read it. It’s by far one of the best animal books written to date. Pure genius.’


M’s Bookshelf (Belgium + Tuscany!):

‘A Cat Called Dog is an amazingly entertaining, heartwarming and funny read. It will make you laugh out loud… A must read for cat lovers.’


Your Cat Magazine (September 2014):

‘This is an unputdownable read.’


Tattle Tale Blog by Wanda (South Africa):

‘This is one of the sweetest books I have ever read. It’s expertly written and had me hooked. It really does transcend all age groups. Get your copy. Believe me – you want to read this book.’


Books Monthly Magazine:

‘A charming, witty and entertaining novel for cat lovers everywhere.’ PoshPuss:

‘I have read your book A Cat Called Dog and absolutely LOVED it!’


NetGalley Reviews:

‘an enjoyable read. I loved it. I’m sure any cat lover will too.’

‘a delightful, well-written short novel. Anyone who has ever owned a cat will relish the cat wisdom, the satire on humans, and the play with puns.’


Swansea Cats Protection (via Twitter and Facebook):

‘A massive thank you to Jem Vanston a local author who has kindly donated signed copies of his fabulous novel A Cat Called Dog to us to sell for the cats and kittens of Swansea J But you will have to be quick as they are selling out quickly.


Ann Clwyd MP (email 2 October 2013):

‘I had an old schoolfriend staying for a week. She chose to read A Cat Called Dog. She loved it! She asked me to tell you that she hoped to read more from you!’


Jilly Cooper – letter 9/7/15:

“Thank you very, very much for your lovely letter and for sending me your book A Cat Called Dog which looked like huge fun.”


John Sentamu, Archbishop of York – letter 21/11/14:

“Thank you for sending me copies of ‘Crump’ and ‘A Cat Called Dog’. With every blessing.”


Paul O’Grady – letter 18/12/13:

Thank you for sending Paul a copy of your book A Cat Called Dog.”


Ken Dodd. Letter 4/3/14:

“Thank you kindly for sending me…A Cat Called Dog.

We have a dog not a cat. A few years ago we had a cat that walked in on us. We called it Nellie because it was so dainty, and then we got a new dog we thought we’d better have the cat checked out at the vet’s and he told us ‘I’ve got news for you: it’s a neutered tom’. So from that day its name became Herbert-Nellie. She lasted many years but currently we just have a dog.”


James McVey (Pop star, The Vamps) on Twitter:

“Thanks Jem Vanston for sending me this.”


David Battie, Antiques expert and cat lover (emails 23/8/13):

‘Thank you… Curiously, I was going to call one of my Bengals ‘Dog’ but my family vetoed it.’


Brian May, musician from Queen (email 21 March 2013):

‘Thank you for the signed copy of A Cat Called Dog.’


Norma Tanega, singer of ‘Walking my cat named Dog’ (letter July 2013):

‘Thank you for sending me your book.’


David Attenborough (letter 3 July 2013)

‘Thanks for sending me A Cat Called Dog. I look forward to reading it.’


Peter May, Swansea/Brynmill Councillor:

‘A nice surprise today. A signed copy from my constituent and friend PJ Vanston of his latest book. Well worth receiving after his first book ‘Crump’! Go out and buy ‘A Cat Called Dog’ by Jem Vanston and support a brilliant Uplands author!’


(Books4Tomorrow 21.9.13)


‘I read this entire short novel with my mouth set in a permanent smile.’


‘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!’



‘The characters each have their own distinct personalities, quirks and traits, and easily made their way into my heart.’


‘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.’


‘a definite must-read!’



So Long and Thanks for All the Fish BLOG (by Elizabeth):


Oh the adorableness!!! I don't think I've ever read cuter, funnier story than this. 

A Cat Called Dog is a perfect book for all ages.  Literally.  It's perfect to read to your children who are old enough to have interest in being read chapter books (and they will laugh, and laugh, and laugh), it's perfect for children who are an intermediate level of reading, and it's perfect for adults.  It's like the best kid movies - kids think they are the BEST, and adults love all the subtle humor that goes over the kids' heads.

Here's why you should read this book:

1. It's adorable.
2.  It's about cats.
3.  It's very insightful about both cats and humans.
4.  It's hilarious.
5.  It's clever.
6.  YOU DON'T NEED A REASON, JUST GO READ IT.  Especially since the author mentioned in the intro that he would be interested in writing more books about the cats if interest was shown!  So go show interest!  I want more cat books!  (And if they aren't about Dog and George, you might break my heart, Mr. Jem Vanston)


Hannah Murray, The Book Show, TalkRadioEurope (Southern Spain and Gibraltar) 28/11/13

‘A delightful book!’


David Nobbs, creator of Reggie Perrin. (By email, September 2013)

“There were some very funny jokes. ‘Missing, presumed fed.’ Brilliant.”


David Bellamy, (by email, October 2013)

A good read with your cat or cats purring on your lap or stalking around the garden. To date our family cherished our cats as members of the family, 15 over almost 40 years and when they shuttled off their feline coil they were laid to rest in the garden. So I just had to read “A Cat called Dog”.

I must say that I enjoyed it right to the end and so did the cat because as I got up to make a cup of tea the dog sat down on the book called Dog. Thank you for sorting all that out. David Bellamy


(Jo Hedesan, Oxford Academic,

“A Cat Called Dog is a charming and engaging tale with several subtle layers of meaning. The author is surely a connoisseur of cats.”


(NetGalley November 2013)

As a cat person and lover, this book immediately drew my attention. I was very excited to have the opportunity to review it. First of all, the author does a wonderful job at capturing a cat's mannerisms and characteristics. It's hard to completely describe and pinpoint an animal's actions, especially a cat's, so the fact that the author managed to do so shows that the author spent a great deal of time researching cats and watching them.  This book will definitely provide readers with a smile and several laughs. It was incredibly enjoyable to read, especially for animal people. A quick, light read, this book is for the reader who is looking for something different and for those who love their cats.


( 23.9.13)

Barking mad but brilliant!

Getting a glimpse of the inner workings of the cat kingdom and realising that all cat kind think we are an inferior species in need of their constant company and guidance is hilarious and completely plausible.


Any cat lover with a good sense of humour can appreciate what Vanston was trying to accomplish and find themselves grinning throughout as they read about the habits of their cats explained so perfectly.


I loved it. I'm sure any other cat lover will too.



ChristophFischerBooks, (on 4.11.13)


"A Cat Called Dog" by Jem Vanston is a great little read about a cat named dog, whose manners undergo some refining by a ginger tom called George. It is a story about cats from the feline perspective and it has charm, wit and great humour. As dog owner and animal loving vegetarian I am probably the prime target audience for this lovely story about eating, sleeping and washing.


The characters in the book are a great bunch and have unique characteristics, for example one speaks in Cockney while another has a French accent. It cleverly plays on the phenomenon of many pet owners to project human characters into animals.


Warm, original and very entertaining! 









See news of upcoming publications and events for award-winning author Jem PJ Vanston:


I am proud to announce that The Nine Lives of Summer, my new cat story - for kids and cat-loving adults too - was published on 1st March 2023 via Two Fat Cats Publishing - on the tenth anniversay of class cat novel A Cat Called Dog being published. "A heart-warming tale with a life-affirming message." "Often funny, sometimes, sad, always hopeful." This diverse tale starts in Syria, where the war forces a family to flee, then travels to a dozen countries (Australia, India, Japan/China, Greenland, USA/Canada, Italy, Spain, Wales) through the nine lives of Summer, via a vast array of diverse cultures and people.


For review copies or interview requests, just email or contact via Twitter @9LivesofSummer or via this author website.



My debut collection of poetry THE LOVED ONES - A COLLECTION OF PANDEMIC POEMS ABOUT LOVE AND LOSS was published 9 April 2022. It comprises 54 poems; including 10 lyrics with 9 online links to the demo song recordings provided via links in the book. Two poems are in National Museum Covis Archives: POEM OF THE PLAGUE YEAR and TWENTY-TWENTY: A YEAR IN THE LIFE, which was featured on Swansea TV and was called 'poignant' by a representative of Her Majesty the Queen. Available on Amazon or in shops worldwide to order or in Harrisons, Uplands and Cover to Cover, Mumbles, and also distributed by the Wales Books Council to any Welsh bookshop which wants to order stock.


"THINKING TIME - 365 Inspiring, Amusing and Thought-provoking quotes to get you through the year",  my diverse quote book, is out now. Not in shops (except 2 in Swansea) but available on Amazon as paperback and ebook - the perfect Christmas or other present for all ages. Intelligent Mindfulness with funny, insightful quotes from individuals from throughout history up to the present day. To dip into, read through or use for mindfulness daily.


On 28th March 2020 my new satirical campus/Brexit novel was published - my 7th book. SOMEWHERE IN EUROPE is a real epic - funny, moving and timely. A state of the nation novel which has something to say. 


If you'd like to get in touch, please just email:


Twitter: @acatcalleddog @ThinkingQuotes7

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