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A Street Cat Named Bob
Last night I finished a book, which has made me rethink my life and seriously consider where my life is at. The book which is responsible for this is "A Street Cat Named Bob" by James Bowen.
James Bowen tells the true story of his life so far which has been a disappointing one and one that saw him sink so low. He is a recovering drug addict who has lived on the streets, homeless and penniless and destined for a life which at times spiraled out of control.
Luckily James was able to find a flat to live in. He scraped by each week to pay for rent, food and electricity by performing on the streets as a musician. James didn't make much money at this, but was enough to keep a roof over his head and keep him warm.
Bob finds James
One night after returning home from busking in London, James found a ginger tom cat who was in a bad way. He cared for the cat and nursed him back to health. Once the cat was fully recovered, he sent it on his way, since he was a free spirit, a stray who lived on the streets, just like James had done previously.
The cat had other ideas and made it clear that he wanted to live with James. Eventually James allowed the friendly ginger tom to share his home, and named him Bob. He even accompanied James on his busking trips to central London by bus, where he would sleep as James played his guitar and sang songs by the likes of Oasis and Johnny Cash.
Bob reminds me so much of my once homeless ginger tom cat Foxy. I suppose that is what first attracted me to the book.
A change of career
Due to a lot of hassle that James received because of his busking, he set himself up to become a Big Issue Vendor. This is where homeless people and those in vulnerable housing buy a magazine for £1 and sell it on for £2. As James says in his book, "it is a hand up, not a hand out." It is basically working for yourself to make a profit to live on. To become a Big Issue Vendor, you must satisfy a set of criteria, be given a numbered badge and then you are allocated a pitch to sell the magazine. James made money to live on by doing this, and Bob went with him on the days that he wanted to.
A Street Cat Named Bob
Bob had become a celebrity as it was unusual for someone to wander around the streets of London with a cat...............who says a dog is a mans best friend! An agent approached James and eventually he agreed to write a book about the amazing cat who needed him just as much as James needed Bob. The pair are inseparable and have caused quite a stir amongst the media and many people stop to meet them, but more so Bob.
The book is uplifting and heartwarming and is a fantastic read which I would recommend. It is a bond between one man and his cat who helped each other at the lowest points of each of their lives. They are lifelong friends and it is fantastic to read that human kindness can help to heal the scars that they both suffered in life.
Since the book came out earlier this year, James and Bob have appeared on several television interviews and told their story.
Every year thousands of people are made homeless and not always through choice. Each one of us is only one step away from being on the streets. It only takes a bad decision, losing a job etc and it is so easy to fall into the trap.
My birthday is coming up on 10th May, and I am traveling to London to a book signing by James Bowen and to meet Bob. I haven't been as excited at any birthday as much as this one. Instead of buying presents, I am asking friends and family to donate money to our local homeless shelter. I never have walked past a Big Issue seller as I know they have a tough time selling magazines just to exist another day. Reading the book opened my eyes as to just how easy it is to become homeless and that we all have a story to tell.