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REVIEW: A Street Cat Named Bob

In any big city as you walk down the street, you might come across a street performer playing music with an open guitar case next to him displaying a small collection of spare change scattered inside it. You might walk hurriedly past the person, feeling uncomfortable to connect with a stranger, or, if the music is just right, you may become his audience, if only for a few moments. Before you part, you fish out a few coins or notes to offer him for his time, leaving it behind in the case.

James Bowen’s International Bestseller; “A Street Cat Named Bob & How He Saved My Life” chronicles his life and the divine meeting of the self-described recovering heroin addict and “busker” (in the USA we would call him a street performer) and a very special orange tabby cat he later named, Bob.


You can’t read a book about someone else’s life without comparing it to your own. In reading Bowen’s words, I was caught up in challenges of his life lived on the streets, to transitional housing in London, which allowed him to continue treatment for his addiction. Where one night his fate would be forever changed by meeting an injured Tom cat who was sitting outside the door of an apartment in his building. In the same way the busy London crowds might ignore a busker, Bowen could have chosen to walk past the cat and not get involved.

In fact, during Bowen’s first weeks with Bob, he often gave the cat chances to leave since Bowen could barely afford to feed himself, let alone provide vet care for an injured cat. Where this story takes a surprising turn is that regardless of how much Bowen protests or questions what he's doing with this cat, the cat, however has clearly made up his mind about what he wants. This cat is like no other. Instead of being fearful, he saunters along with Bowen down crowded streets, even following Bowen onto a bus. He keeps Bowen company as Bowen plays guitar in a public garden, hoping to earn enough money to get to the next day. With his new furry partner at his side, crowds begin to form around the curious duo and the contents of the guitar case show surprising results .


The lesson that was clear to me is that in getting involved with Bob, Bowen’s life opened up in ways he NEVER could have imagined. What’s true for his relationship with his cat is also true in our daily lives. It’s a reminder that we need to stay open to each other whether it be a stray cat in your yard, a stranger on the street or your neighbor. We need to be willing to take a chance and get involved-to be of assistance to each other without a thought about “what’s in it for me?”


bob high five.jpg
Photo courtesy of James Bowen & Street Cat Bob's Facebook Page

A Street Cat Named Bob is a quick read, especially if you speed-read the scary parts where a few worriesome things happens to Bob and Bowen (I won’t spoil it here) and you can’t stand waiting to get to the part where you hope they’re okay again. I found myself rooting for the two of them to see what was becoming clear-that they belonged together.

While the prose is a bit awkward and those of us in the USA might need to translate some of the terms (like moggie=cat), it’s an honest telling of the story. Bowen, himself, is not from a polished private school background built around decades of studying literature. I wouldn't believe the story if it was better written and it would have lost some of its charm. His voice rings clear, even though he did have some help from writer Garry Jenkins to structure the tale just right.

I had the opportunity to ask James a few questions about how he’s doing now and how he feels about his book becoming an International Bestseller and this is what he had to say:____

bob and james.jpg
Photo courtesy of James Bowen & Street Cat Bob's Facebook Page

Nothing…I tried in vain to get answers to a handful of questions. I spoke with Mr. Bowen's Publicist via email a number of times. After two months I've given up that any of my questions will ever be answered. Though I'm definitely not thrilled to share this news with you, it does not diminish what I think about Mr. Bowen's book.

Considering we're about to hit a holiday here in the USA where we should remember to be thankful, A Street Cat Named Bob is the sort of story that reminds us to be grateful for what we have when so many aren't as fortunate. As for Mr. Bowen, his life is changing in ways he never could have imagined and with Bob by his side the future is looking bright.

A Streetcat Named Bob is available for purchase HERE.

Cat Named Bob! Winner chosen at random 11/27/13 at 6PM EST. USA Residents only.


Great review of what I've been hearing is a wonderful book, Robin.  And whether or not we celebrate the holiday -- I do not -- those of us who are fortunate enough to be graced with the love of cats can give thanks every day for the UNCONDITIONAL loyalty, love, companionship, camaraderie, beauty, charm, and silliness they bring into our lives.  In the case of James Bowen, a cat has also brought him good fortune -- as cats will to those lucky enough to share their lives with them! 

I've read this book. You would think it was fiction if you didnt know otherwise which makes it all the more heartwarming. James and Bob saved each other in a way you could never imagine. I agree the writing has a somewhat simple and sometimes repetitive style but if it were more polished, it would be less believeable.

I'm disappointed you got no answers to your questions - maybe there's still time?

Bob is a most handsome cat who looks very well looked after and is most definitely determined to stay with James.

Barbara UK

I would love to win this book to add to my cat-themed bookshelf!

I would love to win this book.  I love "real life" stories about animals--mostly cats.  This one sounds wonderful.  And Bob looks just like my late Harpo the Wonder Cat---minus the bike.

this book been on my 6 cats wish wish forever still praying for a way to get it. i read to all my cats every night for a hour and all the books are true kitty stories. just check out there wish list theres a whole list of books to get to be shared with them.

this book been on my 6 cats wish wish forever still praying for a way to get it. i read to all my cats every night for a hour and all the books are true kitty stories. just check out there wish list theres a whole list of books to get to be shared with them.

I have so much respect for this man!

There have been many a time that the only things keeping me going were my cats. I hope these two have a long, healthy, happy life together!

I'd love to win a copy of this book, but if I don't win I'll certainly be downloading it to my Kindle :) Thanks for the review and the contest!

Thanks for the review and the contest. If I don't win, I'll definitely be downloading this to my Kindle!

Love that he is wearing a "real men love cats" t shirt. Thank you for the chance to win this book.

I had nearly forgotten this on my list of "must read" books. My cats have been my only constant in life. How does anyone live without them?

This is just a fantastic story! I've been wanting to read this! :) It's amazing how a cat can impact ones' life, everyone should own at least one, or should I say, be owned by at least one cat, lol!

Bob is one lucky kitty.  I would love to be able to read their story.  It sounds inspiring.  Thanks for the contest.

Lucky kitty to have been found and loved by Mr. Bowen.  

Lovely story. I'd love a chance to read it. Cats change our lives in a number of ways. 

Thank you for the chance to win. Love his tee shirt!!!

I would love to win that book. I once adopted a stray that looked just like Bob. He was the best cat ever and I miss him.

This sounds like a great read!

I have a street cat named Bobbe, pronounced Bob.  He is a bobtailed tabby that showed up in my front yard and would not leave.  Bobbe had obviously been abused, as he reacted horribly to quick hand motions by jumping in any direction headfirst into walls or whatever may have been in his path, just away from the movement, with a force so strong, we initially thought he might have rabies, or else that he would break his neck from the impact.  Bobbe turned into a very loving and special friend and I am so happy that he chose to share his life with me.  There must be something special about those cats named Bob.

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