Street Cat Named Bob died after being hit by a car, says ex-heroin addict owner of Ginger Tom

The last time James Bowen saw his beloved cat Bob was in the kitchen of his home in Surrey at 11 p.m. last Saturday when he fed him as usual.

Half an hour later, when it was time to go to bed – the ginger tom usually slept on a blue woolly blanket on top of his owner’s comforter – James couldn’t find him.

“I went outside and called him, but he didn’t come,” says James. “I didn’t go to bed that night, I was going back and forth between the house and the street looking for him and calling him with my fiancé Monika.”

But the next morning, the cat, which was always within calling distance for 13 years, was nowhere to be seen. A terribly sad, but not uncommon event in a suburb where free-spirited cats often disappear without a trace.

Never was a cat so loved - not just by James - but by millions of people worldwide who know him as A Street Cat Named Bob

Never was a cat so loved – not just by James – but by millions of people worldwide who know him as A Street Cat Named Bob

But Bob was no ordinary cat. Never has a cat been so loved – not only by James – but by millions of people around the world who know him as A Street Cat Named Bob, star of a bestseller and movie of the same name.

But first and foremost, the former bum was James’ best friend, who is grateful for saving him from life on the streets of London and catapulting him from the depths of drug addiction to international fame and a clean, good life.

Lockdown had made the inseparable duo see more of each other than ever. After filming the sequel to the award-winning film adaptation of James ‘book earlier this year, Bob enjoyed life at home, lying in the sun in his purpose-built’ catio ‘outside or in his usual position on James’ shoulders.

“He just enjoyed being with me,” says James. “He didn’t care if he slept on concrete cuddled up in a sleeping bag, or on a couch at a friend’s house, in a hotel room, or in our own bed. He just wanted to be with me. There was an extraordinary bond between us. We knew each other so well.

“I knew I would lose him someday,” says James. “But I didn’t think it would happen that fast or anything. . . ‘

The next morning, James and Monika kept looking for Bob, James called his name as he walked the streets, knocked on the neighbors doors and called the vet and all nearby animal charities and shelter to see if Bob, who had a microchip had been handed in.

Initially, James was sure that the street-conscious cat would return home safely. After all, if a cat knew how to take care of himself on the street, it was Bob. But Monday morning, James was out of his mind and his anxiety steadily increased until he was sure something terrible had happened.

Tormented by grief, the 41-year-old can hardly speak without sobbing. He's had trouble sleeping since Bob first went missingTormented by grief, the 41-year-old can hardly speak without sobbing. He's had trouble sleeping since Bob first went missing

Tormented by grief, the 41-year-old can hardly speak without sobbing. He’s had trouble sleeping since Bob first went missing

“I suddenly felt this terrible nausea on Monday around 5:00 PM,” he says. Less than an hour later, the vet called.

James cries in tears and struggles to get the words out. “They said, ‘We have Bob here, but it’s bad news,’ and I said, ‘Please don’t say it. Don’t say it. “And they said,” He was in an accident and died. “

As the Mail can reveal, Bob was hit by a car, the blow to the head causing a hematoma that immediately killed him. He was delivered to the vet by a member of the public who was not the driver of the car. Unable to know the exact sequence of events surrounding Bob’s unworthy death, a devastated James can only imagine the worst.

“Has the driver stopped? Did they even know they were going to hit him? How long was Bob there before the passer-by saw him? James says in a trembling voice of emotion. “I just can’t believe it. I thought we would have more time together. He was getting older, but I have no doubt that he had years in him. ‘

Tormented by grief, the 41-year-old can hardly speak without sobbing. He’s had trouble sleeping since Bob first went missing. Moreover, he cannot believe that the animal that has been by his side day and night for more than ten years has been taken from him in such cruel conditions. “I find myself looking around and expecting to see him and when I realize he’s gone it feels like I can’t breathe. It’s a nightmare. He was my best friend. “

It was a completely inappropriate ending for an animal that brought millions of joy. But for James, who met Bob in 2007, the pain of his loss is unimaginable. He is going to look in his head what he did not know then, the last time they played together on Saturday evening.

“He had a spinning toy that he loved. We played with that and then I hugged him and told him how proud I was of him, “says James. He certainly had a lot to be proud of.

The extraordinary cat was believed to be about a year old when he walked into James’ life. James was at a low point at the time, living in assisted housing and enrolling in a methadone program while trying to distract himself from heroin.

A broken relationship with his parents, who broke up when he was three, and a fight against drug addiction had led to ten years of homelessness.

When Bob appeared injured in the hallway outside his one-bedroom apartment in Tottenham, North London, he had no idea that his life would change forever.

After not being able to trace his owner, James paid his last £ 30 to the vet to treat the injured cat’s leg and, when he was well again, tried to free him thinking he was making his way home would find. But Bob refused to leave his side and started following James as he jumped on the bus with him when he went to sell The Big Issue or go to Angel Tube station in London.

It was, James explains, the sudden realization that he was responsible for another living thing that forced him to change his life once and for all. “I’m not sure I would even be here today if I hadn’t met him,” he whispers.

“Bob gave my life a direction and purpose that it had never had before. From that moment on everything has changed and all the positive things that have happened after that can be traced back to him. His influence on my life was extraordinary. He made me believe in myself. ‘

James and Bob became a popular landmark outside Angel Tube station and on the streets of Covent Garden, where passers-by were amazed at the sight of the cat – who often wore his signature knitted scarf – sitting so quietly next to James in one of the busiest parts of London.

In 2010, a literary agent who passed the duo every day suggested writing a book, and in 2012 A Street Cat Named Bob – the first of eight ‘Bob’ books – was published. Subsequently, nine million copies were sold in more than 40 languages, making them top of the bestseller lists everywhere.

The book led to an award-winning film in 2016, in which actor Luke Treadaway starred James. But when the producers assumed that another cat could ever live up to Bob, they were mistaken. Fortunately, Bob was around to pick up the pieces.

“Bob saved the day on the movie set,” says James. They brought in six acting cats that were great at following their directions, but once filmed in the middle of town they looked terrified. They kept looking left and right at all the people around them. They were not as cool as Bob. ‘

In the end, Bob played himself in many of the scenes and coolly stepped from James' shoulder to actor Luke's when neededIn the end, Bob played himself in many of the scenes and coolly stepped from James' shoulder to actor Luke's when needed

In the end, Bob played himself in many of the scenes and coolly stepped from James’ shoulder to actor Luke when needed

In the end, Bob played himself in many of the scenes and coolly stepped from James’ shoulder to actor Luke’s when needed.

His big screen appearance catapulted him into even greater stardom. In subsequent years, James and Bob traveled to Norway, France, Germany, Belgium, Portugal, and even Japan, where the feline human duo stayed in a 50th-floor corner suite at Tokyo’s Ritz-Carlton.

“Every time we walked into a hotel room when we were on tour, he walked around and inspected it,” James recalls. “He would find a favorite spot and then see if his litter box was in the bathroom. He loved to travel.

“Bob had to go on a plane under the seat in a litter box, but I snuck him away during the flight. He loved looking out the window at the world below and wherever we went, he was curious about the smells of a new city and meeting new people. ‘

As they reached each destination, thousands lined up to see the ginger cat happily purring next to James during autograph sessions and interviews, unaffected by the attention he received.

“He was happy wherever we were, as long as he was with me,” says James. “We were soul mates and best friends.”

Bob also starred as himself in the sequel to the movie, the poignant title A Gift From Bob, about James and Bob’s last Christmas on the street, who finished filming last fall and haven’t gotten a release date yet.

“Luke Treadaway called to check on me when he heard that Bob had died. It meant a lot. He really had a bond with Bob. ‘

Seeing the movie for the first time when it’s released will no doubt be a bittersweet occasion.

“It will be emotional to see him on screen again,” said James. “But I do it because I want to celebrate Bob’s life. Everything I do now is about celebrating him. “

Undoubtedly, the film will also be gripping for the millions of Bob fans. This week, there were outpourings of grief on social media as thousands paid tribute to the remarkable cat. “You will always have a special place in our hearts. You will never be forgotten, ‘wrote one.

Another wrote, “So sad to hear Bob died. I went to a book signing years ago and he did what cats do best, napping. He looked so cute. Rest in peace little angel. ‘

This week, there were outpourings of grief on social media as thousands paid tribute to the remarkable catThis week, there were outpourings of grief on social media as thousands paid tribute to the remarkable cat

This week, there were outpourings of grief on social media as thousands paid tribute to the remarkable cat

It is too fast for sorrow-stricken James to think about what the future will bring without him. He is comforted by 37-year-old Monika, who works as a team leader at Marks & Spencer. The couple planned to get married in a few months, with Bob as the ring bearer, but have decided to postpone the ceremony now that he will not be with them.

Since Bob’s death, Monika’s kitty Pom Pom has been sitting by one of the windows in their detached four-bedroom house, looking out at her feline friend. For James, the sight of Bob’s toys sitting untouched on the floor is heartbreaking.

“I can’t stand him not coming back,” he says, choking on tears to get the words out.

But he believes Bob’s ghost is with him. Since the cat died, James says he felt the tail of his tail against his leg and caught a ginger flash going up the stairs.

When Bob died, James was recording four songs with his band James Bowen with the Wild and Stray. He has also written a proposal for a documentary series in which he would sleep roughly in cities around the world to see how different societies deal with homelessness.

His main concern now is to raise money for the homeless and cat charities or, as he puts it, to be a voice for the voiceless. When the shock of his precious pet’s death subsides, he plans to set up a trust fund to raise money for the homeless in Bob’s name.

In addition, he is determined that Bob’s estate will live on. His ashes are placed in a wooden urn ‘sleeping cat’ and stay with James at one of the places Bob liked to lie in the sun, in James’ bedroom or on the landing. He also plans to hold a memorial service, and Bob’s fans have already launched a petition for a statue, possibly at Covent Garden, where James and Bob first gained fame.

“We saved each other,” says James. “All of these dreams have come true – not just for me, but for so many people whose lives he touched. He really was the best. There has never been a cat like him. I just hope he can live on in people’s hearts. ‘

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