A recovering drug addict, James Bowen, has written a book about how his life was turned around after rescuing a stray cat. ‘A Street Cat Named Bob’ tells the tale of London street busker James and his feline companion, Bob.
In spring 2007, life was looking pretty bleak for James, who was on methadone as part of a programme to wean him off heroin. He was barely scraping by, busking in London’s Covent Garden. One day, on returning to his sheltered accommodation in Tottenham, North London, he found a ginger tom cat on the doorstep. The cat was thin and mangy and seemed to James to be as lonely and hopeless as himself. He took pity on the stray and began feeding him. After no owner came forward James adopted the moggy and christened him ‘Bob.’
James had moved around for much of his childhood, including emigration from England to Australia, but had returned to London where he played in a rock band. He drifted into a life of drugs and began committing petty crime. Bob offered James the opportunity to care for another creature, which was a responsibility he had never known.
James lovingly nursed Bob back to health and the pair became inseparable. James continued singing and playing his guitar for audiences in Covent Garden, leaving Bob behind. After a while Bob started following him and one day James was forced to put him on a lead and take him along to his busking spot. Bob sat on James’s shoulders the whole way.
With so many cat-lovers passing by, and interested tourists, Bob soon became the centre of attention. By the end of the first day as a duo, James had racked up more than £60 (on a usual day his takings would be £25). Tourists and commuters befriended Bob and James, many bringing snacks for the cat. Bob would sit patiently all day in James’ guitar case, happily watching the world go by.
Bob’s popularity continued when James switched from busking to selling the Big Issue. James’ big break came when a literary agent, who had passed the pair everyday and seen videos of them on YouTube, suggested that James tell his story in a book.
For James, Bob offered the possibility of a second chance and a need to get his life in order. This is portrayed in a heart-warming tale with a message of hope that will appeal to many – especially if you are a feline fan!
Check out interviews with James on the BBC and ITV This Morning.
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- Anna Reynolds
(Story as seen on the Daily Mail)