Cat that got the cream: book deal for Big Issue seller and his pet


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The Independent Culture

They are an inseparable pair, familiar to travellers passing through Angel tube – the Big Issue seller and his ginger cat. Now the heartwarming story of Bob, the street cat, will be told in full after the tom put his paws to a major book deal.

Hodder & Stoughton has pounced for the story of Bob, the injured stray cat nursed back to health by James Bowen, a musician who hit hard times.

Mr Bowen found the cat curled up inside his sheltered accommodation and secured a course of antibiotics for Bob, who was limping after being attacked by another animal.

The pair now travel on London's buses and the tube together, with Bob draped over James' shoulder when he is too tired to walk.

The cat sits on James' Big Issue bag at his Islington pitch and enjoys the attention of passing customers. James buys him a tin of cat food at lunchtime with the morning's proceeds.

The duo's inspirational story will be told in Mr Bowen's book, A Street Cat Named Bob: How One Man and His Cat Found Hope on the Streets of London. The book is due to be published next March.

The book's synopsis suggests that a Hollywood film can't be far off. Yet when James found the injured cat "he had no idea just how much his life was about to change."

He nursed the ginger back to health, imagining that he would never see him again. But Bob had some other ideas. Soon the two of them were inseparable companions and their diverse, comic and occasionally dangerous adventures would transform both of their lives, slowly healing the scars in each other's troubled pasts.

James recently tried his luck selling the Big Issue in Soho. Tourists asked to take pictures of him with Bob.

London Transport, meanwhile, has presented Bob with his very own special Oyster card in recognition of his popularity at the Angel station.

Famous Felines

*Humphrey, a former stray, wandered off the street and became the official Downing Street cat in 1989. Surviving an attempted defenestration by Cherie Blair, he went on to star in A Day In The Life Of Humphrey.

*At 7'3" from nose to tail, George, a Great Dane, holds the record as the world's tallest dog. The 18-stone pooch from Arizona was celebrated in Giant George: Life With The World's Biggest Dog.

*The nation's favourite meerkat branched out from insurance adverts with A Simples Life: The Life and Times of Aleksandr Orlov. He used the proceeds to "marble the family mansion".

*Adopted by Chelsea Clinton in 1991, Socks the cat was a popular feature of White House life when Bill was President. He was immortalised in Socks Goes to Washington and a book of children's letters to the First Pets.