James Bowen, a 27 year-old recovering heroin addict, took daily doses of methadone. Raised in Australia, he left for London where he failed as a musician and spiraled into drugs and homelessness and hopelessness. After ten years, he sought recovery and lived in sheltered housing. He barely made a hand-to-mouth living as a street musician. He generally played near the busier train stations in London. James was rebuffed by police, other street musicians, and people in general.
At the end of a particularly gloomy day, he climbed the steep steps to his apartment and noticed a ginger cat huddled on his neighbor’s doormat. The cat studied him carefully. The cat was still on the doormat the next day. He discovered that the cat did not belong to his neighbor and that no one knew where he had come from.
James had a soft-spot for cats. This cat was sickly looking and hungry. So, James took the cat to his apartment and fed him assuming that he would go on his way. However, the cat stayed. He named this special cat Bob and, worrying about someone other than himself, he focused on nursing Bob back to good health. Thus began the building of trust and bonding between cat and human. James’ serious recovery from addiction began by caring and being responsible for not only himself but also for Bob.
Bob followed James down streets, rode on buses with him, rode on his shoulders as they walked through crowds and sat in his guitar case while he played. People were drawn to the advent of a cat sitting quietly in a guitar case. They stopped to ask James about his cat and left generous donations. Some folks stopped by daily bringing Bob treats, scarves and toys. James observed that, before Bob, people didn’t look at him, didn’t smile or say hello. Now, with Bob, he was no longer invisible. Strangers smiled at James as Bob rode on his shoulders as they walked down streets. People engaged him in conversation about Bob.
James worried that, someday, Bob would leave him. When James and Bob became separated one day…well, I will let you read the book to find out what happens.
This book is a read-it-in-one-day kind of book. It parallels the books “Dewey, the Library Cat,” “Marley and Me” and “The Cat who Came for Christmas.” This book was a best–seller in London for one year and has caught on in 26 countries from Thailand to Turkey. This is a book about the love and trust between a man and his cat.