A STREET CAT NAMED BOB
In February this year I posted here about a shopping experience, when I was persuaded by a young woman in a wheelchair to buy a particular book. It was called A Street Cat Named Bob and I promised to tell you about it when I finished reading. So here goes.
UK folk may have seen videos and interviews about the cat and owner/author of the book, James Bowen, but if they haven’t read the book I hope this will encourage them to do so.
James Bowen was a busker first and then became a vendor of the Big Issue. His life had been extremely unsettled and many things drove him to homelessness and drug abuse. At the time of writing he was on a drug dependency programme. But his life changed when an injured ginger tom, thought to be a feral cat, appeared near his flat. James took him in and began to look after him and in return the animal gave the guy something to live for. In effect, they looked after each other. When James was busking near London tube stations, Bob would go with him. He would sit on his shoulder as they travelled or walk beside him on a makeshift lead. Since the world is made up of animal lovers, commuters and foreign visitors loved Bob and generously dropped coins into James guitar case. Some brought treats for Bob and one lady knitted scarves to keep him warm. The increase in donations meant that James was able to feed them both.
There were some ups and downs but the cat remained close and James strove to kick the drug habit completely. They were buddies, each helping the other. One day a group of Spanish teenagers told James they had seen Bob on YouTube. That was news to James although a lot of folk had taken photographs of him and Bob so it was reasonable to expect that they did something with them.
An American lady, an agent by the name of Mary Pachnos, asked James to consider writing a book but it was the Spanish teenagers who made him realise that he and Bob were local celebrities. Since then James has been interviewed by the press and appeared with Bob on BBC’s The One Show.
The book was an insight into the life of Big Issue seller and I am firmly resolved to buy one in future instead of simply walking by.
I’d like to end this post with and final paragraph from the list of acknowledgements at the back of the book:
Last, and most definitely not least, of course, I have to thank the little fellow who came into my life in 2007 and who – from the moment I befriended him – has proven to be such a positive, life-changing force in my life. Everyone deserves a friend like Bob. I have been very fortunate indeed to have found one.
London, January 2012.
Below are some links to James and his book: