We all have heard inspirational stories of people whose life dramatically changed to the better thanks to the kindness of those around them or a stroke of unexpected luck. A person can certainly change the life of another human being, but what about a cat? Let’s look at the story of James Bowen, who turned from a homeless busker into a renowned author thanks to a stray cat named Bob.
Life was cruel to James from his early years – his parents got divorced and he moved to Australia with his mother and step-father. The family relationships were far from ideal, which, along with bullying at school, had an adverse effect on James’ mental health. Later he was diagnosed with ADHD, schizophrenia and manic depression.
In 1997, James decided to return to his home country – the UK. All alone, he didn’t have a place to stay and at some point, ended up sleeping on the streets. During this time, he chose the wrong path and got addicted to heroin, which was the only escape from the harsh reality of his everyday life.
Ten years later, James made a decision to overcome his addiction and was enrolled in a methadone program. In this period of his life, he lived in a sheltered accommodation and made a living by busking in London. One evening, as James was returning home, he saw a ginger cat in the hallway of his council house. In the beginning, he didn’t pay attention to the cat, thinking that it probably belonged to one of the other residents. However, the next day it was still there. And the day after. The cat was in the building every evening until James decided to take care of the starved and injured animal and took it to an animal welfare charity.
The cat needed a course of antibiotics, which cost 28 pounds. “This was pretty much the last money I had, but I didn’t feel it was too much to help something in need,” James told the Big Issue magazine he was selling in London, along with busking.
After this amazing rescue, the cat, which was then given the name Bob, seemed to follow James wherever he went. Some time later, the sight of a busker with a ginger cat on his shoulders became popular among tourists and London citizens. James also taught Bob to do high-fives, which got this unusual pair even more attention. The photos and videos of James and Bob soon appeared on the Internet and the topic went viral on YouTube and other social media.
As a result, more and more people started giving Bob food and different gifts, such as knitted items. James, in his turn, recovered from his addiction and finally stopped the methadone program.
“The day I met Bob my life changed forever. I was no longer invisible. People not only stopped and bought a copy of The Big Issue from me but often stopped to talk to me,” James said.
Things seemed to take an even more positive turn when a literary agent came to speak to James one day, asking him about his life. His story was so inspiring that it resulted in a book publication. Moreover, the book, published in 2012, spent two years in the UK Top 10 bestseller list and eventually sold over three million copies worldwide.
Well, it seems that even in such a vicious world like ours, the good still wins, at least sometimes. Let’s hope that things will continue to go well for James and Bob and that they will bring the world even more joy and inspiration with their story.
Image credit: James Bowen & Street Cat Bob/Facebook/Reuters
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