At my children’s insistence, we added two cats to our pet menagerie in the last few years. I am not a cat expert, so I often find myself shaking my head in disbelief at cat antics, and the dramatic cat battles that alternate between scratching and friendly licking. When I am enthusiastically greeted at the door by my four pets, it instantly lowers my blood pressure and also creates a crowded hallway! My cats come when I call their name, love to be petted and admired, find crazy places to nap, and serve as a substitute for my alarm clock.
James Bowen, author of A Street Cat Named Bob, also grew to appreciate, rely on, and adore his cat, which he named “Bob.” He calls Bob a kindred spirit. The injured cat was curled up at an apartment door waiting for rescue. James, a recovering drug addict, adopts the cat despite his lack of funds. By adopting Bob, James took a huge step towards recovery, as he assumed responsibility for a dependent. James relates all the behavior and antics which make Bob the Cat extra-special, sounding like a proud parent in the process. Bob does indeed seem to be a super-cat as he learns to do his business in a human toilet, he travels on London transit, and he rides on James’ shoulder from place to place. The media-savvy cat loves cameras, adores watching television, and quietly stays at James’ side as he plays the guitar and sells magazines to earn a living. People who used to ignore James when he was a busker and scorned him as an annoyance, now stopped to chat and give generously (even buying cat treats and knitting cat scarves). Christmas was now an occasion to be celebrated as James had a companion who was deliriously happy as he played with all the toys in his stocking.
Of course, things were not always easy for the duo, as they encountered some unsavoury characters during their time working on the streets, and they had to deal with illness, bad weather, and James’s struggle to overcome his drug addiction. One persistent lady offered to buy his cat (as if his “child” were an object to be bought and sold) and some people accused James of drugging his cat, as they could not fathom how a cat could be so docile in such busy London locations.
I knew this book was a must-read as the reviewers and readers’ feedback was so positive…it is not surprising that this British book eventually landed on the New York Times Bestseller List! I loved this book, as it was an eye-opener about life on the streets and the long recovery process following heroin addiction, and it was a compelling story about a man overcoming his demons with the help of a pet that offered him stability and unshakeable love and devotion. People all over the world are fans of Bob, as videos of the photogenic cat have appeared on YouTube. To check out all the videos on You Tube just enter the keywords Bob the Cat.
James Bowen recently released a follow-up title to A Street Cat Named Bob. His latest book is called The World According To Bob.
In the continuing tale of their life together James shows the many ways in which Bob has been his protector and guardian angel through times of illness, hardship, even life-threatening danger. – Publisher’s summary
If you like A Street Cat Named Bob, you should check out this new and title which is generating a lot of buzz:
Dogtripping: 25 Rescues, 11 Volunteers, and 3 RVs On Our Canine Cross-Country Adventure by David Rosenfelt (2013)
Publisher summary: David Rosenfelt’s Dogtripping is a moving and funny account of a cross-country move from California to Maine, and the beginnings of a dog rescue foundation. When mystery writer David Rosenfelt and his family moved from Southern California to Maine, he thought he had prepared for everything. They had mapped the route, brought three GPSs for backup, as well as refrigerators full of food, and stoves and microwaves on which to cook them. But traveling with twenty-five dogs turned out to be a bigger ordeal than he anticipated, despite the RVs, the extra kibble, volunteers (including a few readers), and camping equipment. Rosenfelt recounts the adventure of moving his animal companions across the United States with humor and warmth, and tells the tale of how he and his wife became passionate foster parents for rescue dogs, culminating in the creation of the Tara Foundation and successfully placing several thousand dogs with loving families.