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LONDON – James Bowen found an injured street cat curled up in what passed for his living space, he had no idea that a simple act of kindness would change his life.
Bowen, a musician who had fallen on hard times, was making the best he could of his life on the streets, working as a vendor for The Big Issue, a weekly magazine published as a means for homeless people to earn money and work their way to a more secure future.
Although is own circumstances were far from ideal, Bowen couldn’t let the cat suffer without at least trying to do something to help, He took the street cat to the nearest branch of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA). Vets there drained an abscess, fixed him up, and sent him “home” with Bowen.
The two shared Bowen’s accommodations as he nursed the cat — Bowen had named him Bob — back to health with the antibiotics the RSPCA had provided, and sent him on his way. Bowen figured he’d never see Bob again.
Apparently Bob had become quite attached to his new buddy. He began following Bowen everywhere he went, including his vendor station near the Angel Tube station in the Islington borough of London.
Bowen and Bob the street cat became a fixture outside the Tube station. Customers began stopping to visit with the cat, and because Bowen was earning money by selling The Big Issue, he has been able to keep Bob well fed. Bob even rides on Bowen’s shoulders when he’s too tired to walk anymore.
On August 4, Annie Mole’s Going Underground Blog reported that publishers Hodder and Stroughton had signed Bowen to book deal and A Street Cat Named Bob: How One Man and His Cat Found Hope on the Streets of London will be published in March 2012.
WHAT IS ‘THE BIG ISSUE’ – The Big Issue exists to offer homeless and vulnerably housed people the opportunity to earn a legitimate income. We produce a weekly entertainment and current affairs magazine which vendors buy from us for £1 and sell to the public for £2, keeping £1 for themselves. Vendors must adhere to a code of conduct whilst selling the magazine.
We believe in offering ‘a hand up, not a hand out’, but we also recognize that earning an income is the first step on the journey away from homelessness. The Big Issue Foundation is a registered charity which exists to link vendors with the vital support which will help them address the issues which have led to their homelessness. The Foundation works exclusively with vendors, offering support, advice and referrals.
James Bowen and Bob the street cat will be hearing from Hollywood.