How lady luck brought joy for a ‘down-and-out’ Londoner and a cat called Bob!
I was chatting with my son yesterday and he happened to mention that perhaps I should write about a cat for a change! Alex mentioned a book recently published in the UK called A Street Cat Named Bob: How One Man and His Cat Found Hope on the Streets.
This is how the book is described on Amazon (UK site),
When James Bowen found an injured, ginger street cat curled up in the hallway of his sheltered accommodation, he had no idea just how much his life was about to change. James was living hand to mouth on the streets of London and the last thing he needed was a pet. Yet James couldn’t resist helping the strikingly intelligent tom cat, whom he quickly christened Bob. He slowly nursed Bob back to health and then sent the cat on his way, imagining he would never see him again. But Bob had other ideas. Soon the two were inseparable and their diverse, comic and occasionally dangerous adventures would transform both their lives, slowly healing the scars of each other’s troubled pasts. A Street Cat Named Bob is a moving and uplifting story that will touch the heart of anyone who reads it.
A quick web search found volumes of material, so let’s start with this video,
The local London newspaper the Islington Tribune wrote this back in 2010,
Two cool cats… the Big Issue seller and a stray called Bob
Down-on-his-luck musician teams up with ‘wonderful loyal friend’ he rescued from streets
Published: 24 September, 2010
by PETER GRUNER
NOT since the legendary Dick Whittington has a man and his cat become such unlikely celebrities on the streets of Islington.
Big Issue seller James Bowen and his docile ginger cat Bob, who go everywhere together, have been attracting comments since they first appeared outside Angel Tube station.
The story of how they met – widely reported in blogs on the internet – is one of such extraordinary pathos that it seems only a matter of time before we get a Hollywood film.
James, 31, who lives off Seven Sisters Road, Holloway, is a musician who has fallen on hard times.
He ekes out a basic living selling the homeless people’s magazine Big Issue at Angel and Covent Garden.
Bob was a stray discovered by James outside his accommodation one day.
The cat was limping after apparently being attacked by another animal, possibly a fox.
After failing to discover the cat’s owner, James took him to the RSPCA hospital at Finsbury Park, which prescribed a course of antibiotics.
“I kept him for two weeks until he was well enough to go on his way,” said James. “But when I opened the front door to let him out Bob wouldn’t move. He seemed to me to be saying: ‘I want to stay with you.’
“Now we go everywhere together. I even have a cat harness when we go out and Bob gets really excited when I show it to him.”
Read the rest of the article here and if you want more information, a web search on Bob the Cat will finds loads more.
It’s a fabulous story with a great message of hope for not just for James and Bob but for all of us that find ourselves ‘up a creek without a paddle’ at points in our lives.
Here’s how the newspaper The Daily Mail wrote about it on their website,
[last half of the story]
But then Bob started following him and it became increasingly difficult to shoo him away, especially as there were dangerous roads to be crossed. One day there was nothing for it but to put Bob on a makeshift lead and take him along. Bob travelled sitting on James’s shoulders.
The trouble was, so many cat-mad passers-by stopped him to stroke the animal that James arrived late at his pitch, secretly cursing Bob for thereby costing him some of his usual £25-a-day takings. He couldn’t have been more wrong.
Within minutes, people who would normally have walked by without giving James a second glance were lingering to make a fuss of the cat sitting sedately in his guitar case, and most made a donation. By the end of the day, he’d racked up more than £60.
It was the beginning of a phenomenon as tourists and commuters befriended Bob and James, many bringing titbits for the cat. People were amazed at how placidly Bob would sit all day, quite happily watching the world go by while James earned a living. Not that it was always without a hitch; on a couple of occasions Bob bolted when startled, leading to a frantic chase through the crowded streets.
Bob’s popularity continued when James switched from busking to selling the Big Issue, the magazine produced and sold by homeless people. This change in direction was part of James’s growing sense of a need to get his life in order, which he puts down to the responsibility of looking after Bob, and the example the cat offered of the possibility of a second chance.
It enabled James to make the final push to end his drug dependency, going through the necessary cold turkey to get off heroin substitutes, and to mend broken contacts with his family. The final result of Bob’s influence came when a literary agent who passed the duo every day and had seen them on YouTube suggested James tell their story in a book. The result is this heart-warming tale with a message of hope that will appeal especially to the many cat obsessives out there.
Read the full story here.
Let me close with another video, this one from a recent UK This Morning TV show with James Bowen and his cat being interviewed by Eamonn and Ruth.
Thank you, Alex; great story!