Published: February 10, 2012
by PETER GRUNER
THE delightful story of the Big Issue seller and his devoted cat who charm passers-by at Angel Tube station is being published as a book next month.
And publisher Hodder & Stoughton revealed this week that the book, A Streetcat Named Bob, came about after literary agent Mary Pacnos, who lives locally, read an article about the amazing friendship in the Tribune two years ago.
Busker James Bowen, 31, from Holloway, describes in the book how a chance meeting with the incredibly affectionate cat helped turn both their lives around.
James is hoping that if the book is a big success he will no longer need to sell the homeless magazine.
The book’s star is Bob, a stray cat discovered by James outside his accommodation in Seven Sisters Road. The cat was limping after apparently being attacked by another animal, possibly a fox.
After failing to discover the cat’s owner, James took him to the RSPCA hospital in Finsbury Park, which prescribed a course of antibiotics.
“I kept him for two weeks until he was well enough to go on his way,” James said. “But when I opened the front door to let him out, Bob wouldn’t move. He seemed to me to be saying: ‘I want to stay with you.’
“Now we go everywhere together. I even have a cat harness when we go out and Bob gets really excited when I show it to him.”
The couple travel on buses and the Tube and walk everywhere together. To some, Bob appears more like a dutiful dog than a cat. But when he gets tired he just stops and looks pleadingly at James, who lifts him and drapes him around his neck and shoulders.
“He’s a wonderful loyal friend,” he said. “While I’m selling the magazine he sits contentedly on my bag until lunch-time. Then I buy him a tin of cat food.”
Emma Knight, publicity director of Hodder & Stoughton, emailed the Tribune to say: “I wanted to let you know we are publishing in March the heart-warming story of James Bowen and his ginger cat Bob. I’m not sure if you are aware but the book agent, Mary Pacnos, first read about their incredible story from your piece in the Tribune.”
James, with Bob the Cat, will be signing copies of the book at Waterstones branch at Islington Green at 6pm on Tuesday, March 13.