A street cat named Bob

A Street Cat Named Bob by James Bowen.

A Street Cat Named Bob is the first in a charming series of books about a busker who adopted a stray marmalade moggy from the streets of London. James Bowen came home one evening to find an injured cat lying at the bottom of the stairs to his fifth floor flat. Unable to find an owner for the cat, James spent the small amount of money he had in getting veterinary help for the cat that he named Bob (after the television drama Twin Peaks).

When Bob was well again, James tried to release him back on to the streets, but Bob had other ideas. They say that you choose a dog, but a cat chooses you, and Bob made an unlikely choice – James had spent ten years on the street as a heroin addict,  and he was on finally on a methadone program which allowed him to move into a flat in sheltered housing. He was a poor choice for a cat as meal tickets go, but Bob was determined.

Unable to find an owner for the recovered Bob, James decided that he must be a street cat who should be living wild, and he tried to send Bob on his way. But each night when he got home from making a meager living from busking, Bob would be waiting on the doorstep and he would stay the night. Each day, Bob would follow James a little further down the road until one day he dashed after James on to the bus. And so Bob became a busking companion, and later an assistant as James began selling The Big Issue magazine for a living. Bob wore a collar and a little harness for safety on the busy London streets, and he had a series of scarves that were knitted for him by passers by. He attracted attention from possible magazine buyers by doing various tricks.

As their friendship developed, James found the strength to conclude his methadone treatment. He credits the love of Bob with giving him the will and direction to live, and knowing that Bob needed him too was a turning point in James’ life. Bob accompanied him everywhere, even getting his own bus pass for his favourite seat by the window on the number 73 bus.

These books tell the story of James and Bob’s lives on the streets of London in a series of captivating little anecdotes. It reached the best-selling lists of The Sunday Times and the New York Times. If you enjoyed Marley and Me, or Dewey The Library Cat, you will love this series even more. Bob remains happy and healthy at the end of the story, with James and Bob having found a way to a better life together. I found these to be heart-warming feel-good books, ideal to pass on to anyone you would like to cheer up! Other titles in the series are The World According To Bob; Bob: No Ordinary Cat; For the Love Of Bob; Where In The World Is Bob; and, My Name Is Bob. A couple of these titles are written for children.

A Street Cat Named Bob was made into a film starring Luke Treadaway as James Bowen, and Bob as himself.