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A Street Cat Named Bob

Updated on April 25, 2012

James Bowen

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.

James with Bob
James with Bob

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.


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    • jacqui2011 profile image

      jacqui2011 5 years ago from Norfolk, UK

      @ mollymeadows - thank you for your comment, I appreciate it. I did have a lovely birthday, and managed to raise £150 for my local charity "Shelter."

    • mollymeadows profile image

      Mary Strain 5 years ago from The Shire

      Jacqui, what a nice thing to do! Not many people would forgo their own birthday presents to help the homeless. I hope you had a great one. And what a heartwarming story. Thanks for sharing it!

    • jacqui2011 profile image

      jacqui2011 5 years ago from Norfolk, UK

      @ MsDora - Yes, I got a book signed and met both of them. It is a fantastic story and one that touched my heart. I love stories with a happy ending, and James and Bob have found that in each other.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 5 years ago from The Caribbean

      Great story! You're probably in London now meeting James and Bob. How exciting! Thanks for sharing!

    • jacqui2011 profile image

      jacqui2011 5 years ago from Norfolk, UK

      @ SubRon7 - Good to hear from you too Ron. I just love cats and have never been without one my whole life. I love how they are so independent and loving (when they feel like it!) Bob is becoming a sensation and he has had thousands of youtube hits. He will soon be an A-List moggy! Thanks for dropping by, I appreciate it. Best wishes. Jacqui.

    • SubRon7 profile image

      James W. Nelson 5 years ago from eastern North Dakota

      Beautiful hub, Jacqui, I can really imagine having either a dog or cat, and at one time I did have a black female cat that went with me everywhere. When I couldn't take her with me I would leave her with my parents. My car at that time was a 67 Pontiac Tempest. When I put it in park it made a unique sound. I didn't realize how unique until my mother told me that when "Hostility" heard that sound she would go running to meet me at the door.

      Good to hear from you, Jacqui!

    • jacqui2011 profile image

      jacqui2011 5 years ago from Norfolk, UK

      Hi Angie, thanks so much for commenting and reading my hub. It's a great story and the book goes into much more detail about their life together. I am just about to go read about The Toof. Thanks again for dropping by. Best wishes. Jacqui.

    • Angie Jardine profile image

      Angie Jardine 5 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

      jacqui2011 ... this was fascinating!

      And Bob looks just like my cat, The Toof! I rescued him when he was an ailing stray and he too is so loving. I don't go busking but I do go travelling ... and The Toof goes too.

      (see my hub for The Toof's story and a photo of him)

      Don't worry I never pass a Big Issue seller without buying ... bless 'em, they're trying hard.

    • jacqui2011 profile image

      jacqui2011 5 years ago from Norfolk, UK

      @ clairemy - It really is a wonderful story and being a huge animal lover, it appealed to me as soon as I saw them both on television. Thank you for taking the time to comment, I appreciate it. Best wishes. Jacqui.

    • jacqui2011 profile image

      jacqui2011 5 years ago from Norfolk, UK

      @ teaches12345 - Thank you so much for stopping by. It's one of the best books that I have enjoyed for a long time. I certainly will give Bob a pat for you and hopefully get a photo of him which I will post up after the signing. Best wishes. Jacqui.

    • clairemy profile image

      Claire 5 years ago

      truly heartwarming story and it proves yet again how animals and people really do depend on each other and need each other. Lovely stuff!!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      This looks like a book I would also enjoy. What a fascinating and inspirational story. Enjoy your trip and please give Bob an extra pat on the head for me. Voted up.