Book Review and Giveaway: Cat Truths and Dog Confessions

black cat looking at books

Jelly Bean and I had our work cut out for us.

So which one would you rather be, a cat or a dog?

You’d think we’d rather be the cats we are, but Jelly Bean was very curious about these dog things. We found that indeed we would rather be cats because we are already superior, but that some things dogs do sound pretty fun and…a cat might use an electric toothbrush to clean his tongue.

Author Allia Zobel Nolan has done it again—twice—with a pair of brand new gift books in her usual quick and witty style and colorful, whimsical design: Dog Confessions: Shocking Tales Straight from the Doghouse and I’d Rather Be a Cat: the Official “Better Than Dogs” Cat Book.

images of books

Two new gift books by author Allia Zobel Nolan.

Both pocket-sized books—easily carried for quick reference in discussions of dog and cat habits and virtues—feature delightfully detailed photos of cats and kittens and dogs and puppies in action, often in close-up so you can see the sincerity in their eyes, so we know these words came directly from them to Allia.

sample pages from books

Samples page from 'I'd Rather Be a Cat', from author's website.

And for the pure visual enjoyment of we human readers, each two-page spread is in a rich and bold color scheme to complement the animal depicted, so that turning each page leads to another to pause and enjoy the view as well as what the cats and dogs have to say. As a designer and artist I reveled in the design and visual pleasure of these two books as much as what the cats and dogs had to say.

black cat turning pages in book

Jelly Bean is paws-free while easily turning pages with his nose.

Jelly Bean found the pages very easy to flip through using only his nose, very convenient for our animal friends who don’t have thumbs. If more books were this size, other animals would be able to read much easier.

And while JB might have seemed more interested in looking at the cats and dogs and reading their statements, he is an art cat and paused for extra study on certain pages. He especially liked the clear faces on all the animals as he could read their feelings much easier (though I noticed he paused longer on the pages that included food).

All in all, he found both the size and design to be very pleasing for a cat of his abilities and sensibilities.

image of book dog confessions

Dog Confessions: Shocking Tales Straight from the Doghouse, from author's website.

First, the dogs

Following the similarly-designed and eye-catching Cat Confessions: A Kitty Come Clean Tell All Book, Allia was asked to diligently research and write a similar book about dogs. What was a dyed-in-the-fur cat person to do? After all the “tweets, texts, e-mails and snail mail” from dogs all over the world “begging (which they do so well) me to let them to shake off the guilt of their secret indiscretions”, Allia agreed to let them confess and go on to live new lives as “good dogs”!

Happy to finally confess their sins in public, the 30 dogs in Dog Confessions freely tell of intentional misbehaviors such as knowingly eating things they should not have, trading money for treats and using mommy’s lipstick. But they also confess to sins of vanity, such as Harley Boy who gets a regular mani-pedi to keep in touch with his feminine side, and of Maurice the French spaniel who bleaches his moustache.

But they also confess to not indulging in things we all thought were typical dog behavior! “I’ve never told a soul this, but I don’t chase my tail.” Can you believe that? “I really hate begging…it’s so bourgeois.” No, it’s not entirely what you think, and you might actually find a few confessions that are, well, “cat-like”!

cover of i'd rather be a cat

I’d Rather Be a Cat: the Official “Better Than Dogs” Cat Book, from author's website.

Now for the cats

In Cat Confessions we discovered that even the things cats unapologetically confess to are clever and show superior intelligence and ability. I’d Rather Be a Cat confirms that cats are still unapologetic about anything they choose to do and they really are the quieter, more introspective species and much “purrrr-furrrrrr” it that way.

It’s true that “…when something’s considered unattractive, what do humans call it? You got it—a ‘dog.’ ” Yes, feline abilities are often used as analogies for speed, agility, cunning and dignity while dogs, well, you don’t see many new car models or national sports teams named after dogs. One could argue that the cats in question are usually big cats, not domestic felines, but a cat is a cat, and that’s that, right?

And anyone knows that, “Dogs are known for their annoying trait—barking. Cats are recognized for the sweetest sound on earth—purring.” Really, I’ve never heard that barking can help heal anything, but purring, cats have been proved to purr at a frequency that actually facilitates healing.

Some of the things cats have to say are truly profound as well. “Cats are intuitive thinkers. We weigh our options before we pounce, if, in fact, we pounce at all.”

The consensus: cat or dog?

cat reading book

Perhaps the dog would share if he lived with Jelly Bean?

While we confirmed what we knew, that cats and dogs are clearly different, we also found endearing similarities such as an attraction to human food, and a propensity for simply being endearingly manipulative. And while Jelly Bean agreed with the feline sentiments, he found the dogs very interesting since he’s never met one in the fur and paid close attention to what they had to say, especially the pages where food was mentioned.

About Allia and where to find the books

Allia Zobel Nolan is an internationally-published, award-winning author of over 170 children’s and adult trade titles with close to three million books in print and a long career in publishing as well as a fellow member of the Cat Writers’ Association. For more information about Allia, visit her website or her blog. These books and others by Allia are available in print at bookstores and also on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and directly from the publisher.

Jelly Bean would also like you to know that he is, indeed, a child star in one of Allia’s books, the afore-mentioned Cat Confessions. Read about that in an earlier book review.

black cat with book

The choice is surprisingly difficult.

So what is your vote?

I have a copy of each of these books, only reviewed by myself and Jelly Bean as you see in the photos, that I’d love to give away to one of my readers. Please comment on this post with your vote, “cat” or “dog”, to be entered in the drawing, and feel free to vote for both books! You have from today, March 10 to next Saturday, March 17, to cast your vote.

I’ll write your name on a scrap of paper, toss them all in the air and let them land, and whichever one Jelly Bean sits on is the winner. No, probably I’ll be a little more scientific than that, but the drawing will no doubt involve little scraps of paper and Jelly Bean and even a few other members of my feline household.

I was provided review copies of these two books by the publisher and know the author personally, though Jelly Bean has never met her.

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All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used in any way without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.


47 Comments on “Book Review and Giveaway: Cat Truths and Dog Confessions”

  1. Holly (catnut) Watson says:

    Just found this enchanting place via KentButler’s Facebook page — have no idea how I got here, but my 6 beloved felines & I are thrilled!! I realize I’m too late to enter , but if I’d been a day earlier, I’d have voted fir a cat book (duh)), and if I’d been lucky enough to win, probably have given it to one of my many cat-adoring friends & family (after the furkids & I had read it first!!).

    • animalartist says:

      Holly, welcome! Keep in touch with Kent’s Facebook page because he cross-posts all the book reviews and giveaways. And I just did the drawing–had to run and get a neighbor. Sorry!

  2. Karen says:

    If it isn’t too late, I would love the cat book because I am a cat person! I am getting to know my friend’s 2 pit bulls and I also love dogs; I just don’t have any living with me as my cats won’t allow it! So I would love one of each book.

  3. Colleen Day says:

    Dog

  4. ale oliver says:

    Both. Used to be dog, as I grew up w them, but adopted stray, SmokeyLish, last fall, and he is Prince of our house!!

    • animalartist says:

      Now there’s a good story! I had actually wanted to adopt a dog more than one, but my schedule would be really difficult for a dog. Congratulations on finding SmokeyLish!

  5. Jamie Moon says:

    Cat.. Definitely a cat!!! It would be puuuuuurfect! 🙂

  6. Gloria Jarvis says:

    I love this concept! My calico, Calliope, would love to be able to have some reading time with me that isn’t in front of the computer.

  7. Dog
    lanehillhouse[at]centurylink[dot]net

  8. Cat
    lanehillhouse[at]centurylink[dot]net

  9. Vicky says:

    For my husband… dogs!!

  10. Vicky says:

    For me… cats!

  11. Kim Moore says:

    What a truly lovely review. Jelly Bean is gorgeous as well as literate. I have a TV watcher but no readers in my household of three beautiful cats. I vote feline.

  12. I’m a cat person but I want a dog book. Then my cats, Tommie, Ms. Grace Lillian, and Mickey Mouser, and I can laugh at them all. Allia is the best!

  13. animalartist says:

    Looking at everyone’s comments I may need to award a second copy for most creative entry!

  14. animalartist says:

    Only kitty comments?! Not one goggie? Well, we might have guessed that. We also have six more days!

  15. Amby says:

    MacKenzie, Molly, Angus, Donal and Bayla Brandon Bailey ALL insist I vote FELINE (as if there were ever any doubt). Molly is still miffed that she’s considered “geriatric” and gets even by blocking the screen every day when I visit The Creative Cat. The rest of her time is spent chasing the boys, snitching food from Kenz, and emphasizing why cats rule and dogs drool….

    • animalartist says:

      Some kitties don’t know how old they are supposed to act! And that’s a good thing. We’ll consider you for the feline vote, even though Molly blocks your view, because we know we have a few half-siblings in your household.

  16. Sherry Black says:

    A book about cats?
    What’s better that that?
    Please enter me,
    For a book for free
    Most certainly
    Would make me say SQUEEEEE!!!!!

  17. Let’s see, CAT, CAT, CAT….no, wait a minute…DOG, DOG, DOG….no, that’s not right…..FISH, FISH, FISH.

    Oh, what am I doing?

    I can’t win the books. I wrote ’em…AND BOY, WHAT A GREAT REVIEW!!!! Do you rent out your babies for photo shoots? They are, like, so photogenic. But then, you’ve traine them well.

    Anyway, I must go tweet this and FB this and LinkedIn this, and put on my kittyliterate blog. Such a great review….I’m speechless, (and for me, that’s something!)

    MY MOTHER THANKS YOU, MY FATHER THANKS YOU, AND I THANK YOU…SO DOES ANGELA, MACDUFF, and SINEADY CAT THE FRAIDY CAT,

    Thanks again, B…..

    • animalartist says:

      Fish? Did someone say fish? We’ll take the book about FISH! Thanks for sharing. Bean’s stardom spreads. I just let him do what he wants, and he’s a natural model.

  18. Laurie and the "Girls" says:

    Of course cats! Love the review!!!

    Laurie and the “Girls”

  19. Linda Chapman says:

    Paws down…It’s the CAT book! Please enter me in the drawing. I enjoy reading anthing and everything about those furbabies. Thank you!

  20. Herman says:

    Love your Jelly Bean pictures.
    My philosophy regarding cats or dogs: let there be no doubt… cats rule!

  21. Dawn says:

    Definitely cat. =^..^=

  22. Hmm…let me think. Do…………CATTTTT! Please enter me for that 🙂

    Excellent review Bernadette and JB!

  23. Kimberly Helgeson says:

    Oh Pleeeeeaze !!!! Cat of course !!!! (I have three) I also have a dog and love her very much but I’d be first in line to live a “Kitty life”


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