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A street cat named Bob

James met Bob the cat when he was at a pretty low point in his life as a recovering heroin addict on methadone living in sheltered accommodation .

James, who took pity on the thin scruffy animal who he found in his doorway and began feeding him. After a local search failed to yield an owner, he took the stray in, an arrangement that filled as much a need in him as in the cat, whom he christened Bob.

With his limited resources, James slowly and lovingly nursed Bob back to health.

James’s routine was to put Bob out for the day before setting off on the bus into town to sing and play his guitar for tourists in Covent Garden but then Bob started following him and it became increasingly difficult to shoo him away, there was nothing for it but to put Bob on a makeshift lead and take him along.

People who would normally have walked by without giving James a second glance were lingering to make a fuss of the cat sitting sedately in his guitar case, and most made a donation. By the end of the day, instead of his usual £25 takings he’d racked up more than £60.

It enabled James to make the final push to end his drug dependency, going through the necessary cold turkey to get off heroin substitutes, and to mend broken contacts with his family. The final result of Bob’s influence came when a literary agent who passed the duo every day and had seen them on YouTube suggested James tell their story in a book.


'A Street Cat Named Bob'

by James Bowen


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Taken on August 6, 2012