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The true story of how the loyalty of a cat saved a man’s life

PUBLISHED: 15:00 14 September 2016

Luke Treadaway in A Street Cat Named Bob. Picture: Andreas Lambis.

Luke Treadaway in A Street Cat Named Bob. Picture: Andreas Lambis.

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New film A Street Cat Named Bob tells of a bond between man and cat formed in tough times and has been filmed in Islington

Based on the best-selling book of the same title, A Street Cat Named Bob tells the heart-warming true story of how busker and recovering drug addict James Bowen developed an unlikely friendship with a stray ginger cat.

After finding his way to Bowen’s supported housing block in 2007 with an infected leg wound, Bob the cat was nursed back to health by the former Big Issue seller.

However, Bowen in turn found himself rescued, directly crediting Bob’s loyalty and affection for his own recovery from substance abuse, as he was prompted to get his life together in order to care for the cat.

The film provides an intimate look at the remarkable tale of how the duo found hope in one another, following Bowen’s journey from homelessness and addiction to success and acclaim beside his feline companion.

Unable to find an owner for the cat after asking around, Bowen attempted to release Bob onto the streets of London before realising that he refused to leave his side, following Bowen onto a bus one day when on his way to go busking.

Since then, the pair has become inseparable and Bob has even been given his own Oyster Card for his now regular bus journeys with Bowen.

The duo first began gaining recognition in 2012, with the release of Bowen’s first book which spent two years in the UK Top 10 bestseller’s list and has since been translated in to 30 different languages.

It’s little wonder then that this story has been taken to the silver screen.

Produced by Adam Rolston, the film will be the debut release of Shooting Script Films. The film features a star-studded line up, being directed by Roger Spottiswoode (Tomorrow Never Dies) and starring The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time actor Luke Treadaway.

Ruta Gedmintas, Joanne Froggatt, and Anthony Head also star in the film, though the true leading man is Bob, as played by himself.

The twosome are familiar faces in Islington, having become something of a local celebrity duo around Angel Tube station where Bowen used to busk and sell The Big Issue.

However, they have gone on to enjoy acclaim on a global scale, with @StreetCatBob having amassed over 82,000 followers on Twitter and Bowen having gone on to release seven books about the feline for adults and children alike.

But they haven’t forgotten their roots. A Gift from Bob, Bowen’s 2014 Christmas tale featuring the ginger cat, had its first signing at Waterstones in Islington, not far from where the story began.

However, success doesn’t stop here for the pair. Bowen is currently in the process of finding premises for his very own crowd-funded cat café in the Islington area.

The project hopes to provide a home for mistreated and abandoned cats, as well as offering refreshments for those simply after some cat affection.

A portion of the proceeds from the café will go towards supporting The Big Issue Foundation and Quick Reads, two charities very close to Bowen’s heart.

As suggested by its name, Bob’s World Cat Café hopes to have a similarly global impact to that of the famous feline.

The tale of A Street Cat Named Bob is in cinemas November 4.


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