A Street Cat Named Bob by James Bowen

Often, I take on residential pet-sitting for family and friends, and when I do, I always take a perusal of their bookshelves. While looking after two cats, I had a browse of their owner’s books and saw A Street Cat Named Bob among them. I recalled the film coming out a few years ago and decided to read James’s story.

Homelessness and substance addiction are two issues that resonate quite deeply with me. I have previously read No and Me by Delphine de Vigan and am due to read Mahsuda Snaith’s How to Find Home, which both shine a light on homeless characters.

A Street Cat Named Bob is a memoir of a young man whose life was transformed by a street cat. They, in essence, adopted each other, and James set himself on a path to get clean from hard drugs and prescription rehabilitation medication. The story follows the first two years of James and Bob’s life together, busking and later selling the Big Issue on the streets of London.

It’s a quick, easy and enjoyable read. Despite the harsh reality of James’s life, I see no reason why this couldn’t be read by animal-loving teenagers and upwards*. It is an uplifting tale of battling demons on the road to recovery, taking responsibility for yourself, and finding purpose in life in the hardest of times.


*Although heroin addiction is talked about openly, there is no graphic description of substance abuse, and the occasional expletives have been *****’d out.