The book, “A Street Cat Named Bob“, details how Bowen — a former heroin addict — found a starving, injured stray hiding under the stairwell in his apartment complex in 2007. Bowen was hesitant to take him in, but was unable to find anyone else to claim the wounded cat.
He took the cat to RSPCA to treat the abscess on his leg and a large wound in his side. Bowen spent more than a day’s wages on antibiotics for the stray cat.
“It was pretty much the last money I had, but I didn’t feel it was too much to help something in need. I’ve always loved cats,“ Bowen told the Daily Mail.
According to the Sunday Times, Bowen’s problems began when his parents separated when he was just 3 years old. He moved to Australia with his mother, and was bullied as a teenager. He changed schools often, and didn’t get along with his new stepfather. At 18, Bowen returned to England alone. After a short stint living with his half-sister, he found himself out on the streets, where he soon became addicted to heroin.
“When you’re sleeping rough, you are surrounded by people doing drugs,“ Bowen told the Daily Mail. “They offer you some, saying it will help you sleep — which it does — or make you feel better. And before you know it, you’re thinking Why not? I’ve got nothing else.“
Soon, he was a serious addict — precariously close to death.
Ten years later, when Bowen was finally in the process of recovery, he discovered the orange cat underneath his stairwell.
Initially, Bowen tried to let Bob go, even after paying for his veterinary treatment.
“I’d take him outside, but he just wouldn’t run off. I would leave for a day’s [panhandling] and he’d follow me up the road. Then, one day, he followed me all the way on to the number 73 bus. He climbed on right after me!“ Bowen told the Daily Mail.
Finally, he relented and let the cat stay. The pair soon became inseparable and were a familiar sight panhandling around London — Bowen strumming a guitar and Bob sitting at his feet or perching on his shoulders.
Bowen says that finding the cat and caring for his injuries enabled him to fix his own life. “I’ll never go back to drugs,“ he told the Sunday Times. “I’ve learnt too much and grown up.“
Soon passers-by were bringing the cat bits of food, toys, and even clothes.
“Someone gave him a purple scarf,“ Bowen told the Daily Mail. “Then everyone wanted to give him one. He must have more than 20 specially knitted scarves, a couple of [sweaters], ten blankets — mouse shaped-ones, cat-shaped ones. It’s amazing.“
Two years ago, Mary Panchos, a literary agent who also worked on the UK version of Marley & Me, spotted Bowen and Bob selling a magazine for the homeless outside a subway station. That was the beginning of their relationship and soon Bowen had a book deal with Hodder & Stoughton.
“She said she had been walking past us for weeks, and wanted to know if I was interested in telling my story,“ Bowen said. “Soon, we had publishers on board and six months later we had a book. It came out on my birthday. The best present of my life!“
詹姆斯把自己与鲍勃之间的故事记录下来写成一本书，书名就叫《一只名叫鲍勃的流浪猫》（A Street Cat Named Bob），这本书被翻译成30多种语言，全球畅销上百万册。