A Street Cat Named Bob: How One Man and His Cat Found Hope on the Streets
By James Bowen
$16.99 Hodder Publishing
This is the story of a large orange cat living in London in 2007. He was a cat with problems; he had an injury (from some scrap with a dog), perhaps, and he was starving.
In short, he was a mess.
James Bowen was not really in much better shape. He was in his 20s, had developed an addiction to heroin, and was eking out a living as a busker.
Originally, James lived in Australia and his family is still there. The “adventure” he had planned when he left home to go to London had gone terribly wrong. He met the wrong sort of friends, got hooked on drugs and lost his passport.
As this story opens, he has been taking methadone, as part of an attempt to kick his heroin habit. His friends are gone and he has spent long periods living on the street.
Since he began his drug rehabilitation, he has worked as a busker and managed to rent a small flat. He has always favoured the Goth look and employment has not been easy.
When the cat shows up at James’s door, sick and hungry, James believes he belongs to someone and is reluctant to take him in.
Days pass and the cat persists in his attendance at the door.
James is lonely and finally begins to care for the cat; he names him Bob and gets his wounds attended to at a free clinic.
The cat makes himself at home and turns on the charm.
James believes that everyone is given second chances every day of their lives, but usually fail to either see those opportunities or to act on them. This story is really about a couple of “losers” who find each other and change each others lives.
Bob is not your average cat. He’s smart and observant, and as he and James begin to share their lives and their opportunities, Bob contributes equally.
As a busker, James is barely keeping himself housed and fed. In addition to that, the authorities are always finding ways to run him off the areas where such entertainment is most lucrative. It’s plain that James must find other employment.
If the police arrest him, what will happen to Bob?
This is a true story that unfolds in a gentle manner. It is told in a day-to-day manner, as James takes on the responsibility for Bob and begins to turn his life around.
Bob travels around London, first on James’s shoulder, and later on a small harness leash. He is very popular with people walking by and many take his picture.
People take those pictures home and Bob becomes very famous indeed.
This is a nice warm story, especially for cat lovers, who are legion, or for anyone who likes to hear of new beginnings in a messed up life.
It’s a story with a happy ending.
Peggy Freeman is a local freelance books reviewer.