I was very excited to read of a development last week, a development that can only be described as particularly heart warming. About a year after I’d been in the area, via twitter I heard of a Big Issue seller outside Angel tube station who had a cat with him. (How could I have missed them that year before?) Then nothing else until last week. But last week saw a special event, a tribute to a very special relationship. James Bowen, a recovering heroin addict, met Bob the ginger tom. Bob needed a little help with his health and James kindly attended, with love and care. They became inseparable.
Then along came literary agent Mary Pachnos of Aitken Alexander, at the tube station. She chatted with James and learned of their story. James then wrote their story with the help of Garry Jenkins. Hodder & Stoughton have published it. And last week, on James’s 33rd birthday A Street Cat Named Bob was launched at the Waterstones branch closest to Angel tube station, Islington Green. People were queuing out the door and around the corner. Look at the pictures to see the evidence of that special relationship. And a rather special cat as it happens.
I can’t wait to read this. It’s a story of how life can change. (See here for book availability.)
Like James, I was once adopted by a cat. Like James, I once had a not-in-the-best-of-health feline follow me down the road. My little darling, Oscar, now sadly departed, brought a lot of joy into my life and into the lives of my parents, when they were alive. Bob’s impact on James’s life has been immense, just as James has changed the life of Bob for the better.
If you weren’t aware of this story and you’re still reading, now you are. I hope like me, you’ll be keenly interested in this book.
There follows a series of links and further information. (With thanks to Hodder & Stoughton who have furnished me with most of the pictures for this post.)
In an interview with the Evening Standard, James says how Bob has changed his life. “I believe it came down to this little man. He came and asked me for help, and he needed me more than I needed to abuse my own body.” And
‘As for the future, he is thinking of registering Bob as a Care in the Community animal, so he can take him to old people’s homes and care centres. “Animals are great for calming the spirit when you’re stressed,” he explains. “He certainly helped me in that way, and I’d like to help other people in that way. Maybe I’d have to take some courses in community care or something like that.”
The first thing he would do if he makes any money from the book, incidentally, is to buy Bob some pet insurance. “I can’t afford it at the moment, I’d love to be able to do that.”’
You can find @streetcatbob on twitter.
Finally, here’s a video to tell you more about it …