A ST Dogmaels author and illustrator has produced a book for Welsh learners with a difference.

'Teach Your Cat Welsh' by Anne Cakebread aims to help Welsh learners practise their Welsh with their cat. The book follows the hugely popular 'Teach Your Dog Welsh', published at the end of 2018, which has now sold over 4,250 copies.

'Teach Your Cat Welsh' (published by Y Lolfa) is full of appealing 1950s-style retro illustrations, with a picture and the expressions it illustrates (in both Welsh and English) one double page, as well as help with the Welsh pronunciation.

There are more than 50 expressions to practise and over half of these are different from those featured in 'Teach Your Dog Welsh'. Expressions range from ‘Dwi’n dy garu di’ (I love you) to ‘Oes annwyd gyda ti?’ (Have you got a cold?).

It’s an excellent and really fun introduction to learning Welsh for all ages – and most of the phrases can also be used in non-cat related situations!

'Teach your Dog Welsh' has been a number one best seller for the Welsh Books Council over several months and was Book of the Month at W H Smith. 'Teach Your Cat Welsh' will also be W H Smith’s Book of the Month for June 2019.

'Teach Your Cat Welsh' has been developed due to the huge popularity of the dog version, as well as numerous requests by cat-lovers who are learning Welsh.

“The popularity of the series has been amazing. I was thrilled when 'Teach Your Dog Welsh' was re-printed for the first time – but I’m amazed that it’s been reprinted three more times since,” said Anne, who lives in St Dogmaels with her partner, two whippets and lurcher and runs a B&B Oriel Milgi.

“A lot of cat lovers approached me personally or contacted me over social media asking if there’d be a cat version of the book.”

The mischievous black cat in the book, who – unlike the very obedient dog in 'Teach Your Dog Welsh' – often ignores instructions, has been inspired by two cats: one being Chanel, the cat of Anne’s two nieces. Mari and Elin are thrilled to have Chanel in a book.

“Chanel made a lovely model as she’s nice and plump and full of character,” said Anne.

“The other cat that inspired the personality is the local black tom cat with yellow eyes who prowls and hunts around the old Abbey ruins, and is a bit of a legend here in St Dogmaels. He’s a seriously tough character!”

Originally from Cardiff, Anne wanted to improve her Welsh as it was important to her to become part of the lively Welsh-speaking community in the area.

“I first had to unlearn the Welsh I'd been taught in school as it's nothing like the Welsh people speak here. That's why I've made the expressions in the book colloquial, as a large part of learning is listening to what people say around you,” said Anne

The original book was inspired by Frieda, a rescue whippet, who only understood Welsh commands when she was first homed with Anne and her partner.

Slowly, while dealing with Frieda, Anne realised that she was overcoming her nerves about speaking Welsh aloud by talking to the dog, and her Welsh was improving as a result – this gave her the idea of creating a book to help other would-be learners while also using her skills as an illustrator.

There are plans to expand the series to include translations into other minority languages including Cornish and Irish. 'Teach Your Dog Māori' is already available as an e-book, and there will be a special travel edition teaching Japanese to coincide with the Rugby World Cup in the autumn.

Anne is a freelance illustrator with over 20 years’ experience in publishing and TV, including cover art and illustrations for numerous books, magazines and adverts. She also illustrated sets and props for Boomerang on S4C’s award-winning ABC.

'Teach Your Cat Welsh' by Anne Cakebread is available now (£4.99, Y Lolfa).