Exclusive Interview with James Bowen, Author of A Street Cat Named Bob

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I have been in love with Bob ever since I read the British edition of A Street Cat Named Bob back in April of last year. The book was released in the US  last week, and is already climbing the bestseller lists. It will debut at #7 on the New York Times Bestseller List next week. I’ve been following James and Bob on their Facebook page for the past year, and I am thrilled for the incredible success they’ve been experiencing. As far as life changing cats go, Bob is in a category of his own.

I was delighted when the US publisher offered me the opportunity to send a few questions across the Atlantic to James Bowen.

James, when we last “spoke” via email in May of last year, I asked you how your life had changed since the book came out in the UK. Your answer at the time was “It hasn’t changed a huge amount really, I still play music most days with Bob around Covent Garden in London. That said, we do get a lot more attention than we did before.” I’m guessing that your answer will be a little different this time around! What has changed for you and Bob over the past year?

The main change is that we no longer need to be on the streets. For now, at least, our days busking and selling The Big Issue are over. In the books, I don’t make any secret of the fact that life on the streets of London is hard. It isn’t a place that is overflowing with the milk of human kindness! So being free from the pressure of having to get up in the morning, get the bus into central London and then put up with the weather, the regular abuse from passers-by and the pressure of having to earn enough money to keep Bob and I going for a few days is incredibly nice.

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I’ve been enjoying following you and Bob on your Facebook page. Going by the pictures from your public events, it looks like Bob is taking his fame in stride. Is there ever a time where he gets stressed at public events? If so, how do you handle it?

Bob enjoys the attention, but he does have his limits. He can get a little grumpy if people prod and poke and stick flashlights in his face for hours on end. And who can blame him? He is always my number one priority, so we have introduced stricter rules when he does make public appearances. People can’t just come up and stroke him and we have banned flash photography. We also make sure that he gets plenty of rest between events.

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Who came up with the idea of “Around the World in 80 Bobs?” It’s brilliant!

It was partly inspired by our fans on Facebook and Twitter. Someone posted a picture of the cover of a book with Bob’s face looking out over the New York skyline. Then someone did something similar in the cable car that runs over the Thames in London. We thought it would be great to encourage our fans all over the world to show us where they were reading the book, so Around the World in 80 Bobs was born. Garry, who writes the books with me, came up with the title and set it up.

You and Bob have been doing some fundraising with the Blue Cross charity in England. Can you tell us a little more about that?

After the amazing year we had in 2012, we decided that 2013 was going to be the year that we started giving something back. We decided to adopt a charity and the Blue Cross was an obvious choice. Not only do they do great work in looking after pets, they specifically helped Bob when he was ill and when he needed microchipping years ago. So far we’ve raised more than £13,000. I don’t know how much that is in dollars – but it’s a lot! (Editor’s note: at today’s exchange rate, that’s $20,000.) We’re very proud of the work we do there and encourage everyone to give at our special page http://www.justgiving.com/streetcatbob

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I heard that there’s a movie deal in the works. A year ago I asked you who should play your part IF that were to happen, and now it’s actually becoming reality! I can think of any number of actors who could play your part, but what about Bob? Who will play his part?

We don’t want to jinx things so aren’t going to say anything more about the movie. Let’s just say that we are in talks. Who would play Bob? He would have to play himself I think. There’s no one quite like him.

Do you still have time for your music?

I still play my guitar at home and write the occasional song. But, as I explained earlier, I don’t need to busk any more. The music is very much on the back burner at the moment. We have more than enough to do with the books and public appearances.

I love seeing you wear the “Real Men Love Cats” t-shirt, which was designed by my friend Toni at RC Tees. Do you get a lot of comments about the shirt?

I’m always getting comments about the shirt, which makes me happy because it’s a great design and Toni is a great lady.

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Are there any plans for you and Bob to come to the US?

Not at the moment, but who knows in the future? One thing I am sure about is that if we do come over, we will have to travel in a way that is comfortable for Bob. There’s no way that I would put him in the hold on a plane, for instance. So that probably will make it difficult – but not impossible – to travel across the Atlantic.

I just read The World According to Bob: The Further Adventures of One Man and His Street-wise Cat* and of course, I loved it just as much as the first book. Are there any plans for a third book?

We are currently working on a couple of children’s books, so the third book in the adult series isn’t really on the agenda – at the moment. But you can never say never. Especially as our lives keeps taking such unexpected twists and turns!

What’s next for you and Bob?

Apart from the children’s books and the charity work, we are trying to save money to buy a new home. We’d quite like to move out of London, to the countryside. I think it would be good for both of us to breathe some clean air and take life a little easier there. Only time will tell if that particular dream comes true.

I would like to thank James for taking time out of his incredibly busy schedule to answer my questions, and his US publicist for making this interview possible. I’ll leave you with this photo of James and Bob. It shows the bond between these two soul mates so perfectly, and it brings tears to my eyes every time I look at it.

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All photos from the James Bowen & Street Cat Bob Facebook page. Photos at top of post and bottom of post by David Parker.

Mews and  Nips will return next week.

* The World According to Bob is currently only available in the UK, and there are no plans at this time to publish the book in the US. You can purchase the book from Amazon.uk in both print and Kindle versions. Look for a review here on The Conscious Cat next week.

56 Comments on Exclusive Interview with James Bowen, Author of A Street Cat Named Bob

  1. Julie Blaskie
    January 26, 2017 at 2:34 am (10 months ago)

    Hi! While I have the e-books, I’ve not yet read them but will soon! However, my fiance and I LOVED the movie “A Street Cat Named Bob”! It made us both teary eyed, especially for the love James had for Bob – even when things were at the toughest. My Ruford is going on 17, and he sat on my lap watching the movie. 7 year old Bella was on my fiance’s lap, and 21 month old Lucky sat behind my head to watch as well!

    James, it was wonderful of you to accept Bob – he’s your guardian angel! We are so happy that you both are doing better for yourselves! You both are an inspiration! We hope you can visit the USA – especially Oklahoma City, OK! 🙂

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      January 26, 2017 at 6:20 am (10 months ago)

      I can’t wait to see the movie – I hope the DVD comes to the US soon.

      Reply
      • Julie Blaskie
        January 26, 2017 at 10:20 pm (10 months ago)

        You will LOVE the movie – it was just perfect in portraying the relationship between Bob and James! We are watching for the DVD as well! A beautiful story!

        Reply
  2. Amelita Cabigao
    August 2, 2016 at 7:34 pm (1 year ago)

    Dear James and Bob, I read your 3 books and I like it so much…it is so touching and very true to life. I am glad now that your life is better…you deserve all the good things that happen to you because you have a good heart even you at first was on drugs you were so young then and it is not your fault. Now you made yourself clean and Bob has helped you to sort out your life. Congratulations to you and to Bob….many more good things things will come your way. Could you please tell me when will the movie “A Street Cat named Bob” be released here in Australia. I would love to see it and buy a video of it. God bless the 2 of you ..All the best….Kind regards, Amelita

    Reply
  3. Caroline Brophy
    April 20, 2015 at 7:25 am (3 years ago)

    I have just finished your book called A Gift from Bob which was a real eye opener , cant understand how some people can be so rude and thoughtless . You never gave up and I was thrilled to find at the end of the book that life had become a lot better . Also reading your interview earlier you are not on the streets any more . Thank heavens for that. I don’t know how you coped with the cold. Thanks for the work you do with the Blue cross , we got our two dogs there and had 15 happy years with them not to mention the many rescue cat we have has over the years, Well done James and Bob
    Caroline XXX

    Reply
  4. Wendy
    January 4, 2015 at 2:44 am (3 years ago)

    Just finished reading James and Bob’s third book, A Gift From Bob which I bought in England. Was in England in Nov/Dec 2014 and with some last minute changed of plan just to get the 3rd book and have it signed and personally dedicated by James and Bob. Flow all the way from Penang in Malaysia (15 hours flying time) and it was worth every seconds. Bob was a little grumpy that day, maybe because of the long train trip from London to Reading on a cold cold morning. It was the highlight of my trip to England that is for sure. Bob and James, you are the best!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      January 4, 2015 at 7:17 am (3 years ago)

      That is so cool that you got to meet James and Bob, Wendy! I can totally understand traveling as far as you did to do so, I’ve considered it a few times myself!

      Reply
      • Wendy
        January 5, 2015 at 1:13 am (3 years ago)

        Not everyone think it was a great idea to drive hours just to meet them. My bf and some friends thought I was crazy! To me its worth it. Initially I was thinking maybe I should not change my plan and just see them when I visit London again. After much thoughts, I told myself, no, I want to see Bob, after all he is not getting any younger!

        Reply
  5. napha
    November 19, 2014 at 7:45 am (3 years ago)

    Really love this couple James ang Bob, they inspire me to travel to UK if lucky enough…. I may meet both of them!

    Reply
  6. heather Otton
    October 20, 2014 at 7:23 pm (3 years ago)

    Thoroughly enjoyed both Bob books and can’t wait for more. Do hope the movie will eventuate also. I’m a cat lover too, but sadly lost my 16yr old “JAZZ” earlier this year.

    Reply
  7. Joanne San Soucie
    October 11, 2014 at 11:16 am (3 years ago)

    I have just finished the first chapter of A Street Cat Named Bob. Want to save book for
    vacation reading next month, but I so want to read more and not wait! I have an orange
    tabby named Cheddar, and loved Bob just by seeing his picture on book cover! It so
    awesome to know that you and Bob have this wonderful life together and are enjoying
    success!

    Reply
  8. Carol Barton
    August 25, 2014 at 3:09 am (3 years ago)

    Hi James and Bob, I have just finished the second of your two books and feel immensely sad that I have finished them both. However, I am inspired and impressed by the honesty you have shared of your’previous’ life – before Bob. It is good to hear how good your life is now.
    Many years ago I had an amazing ginger tom cat called Digby, like you and Bob we had a special bond. Like Bob, Digby chose me. He was part of a huge litter, very timid and uncared for. We took him and his brother Linford home and nurtured them back to health, but it was Digby who chose me. He would greet me, sit with me wash me and gave me his undying love. I still miss him immensely but am grateful we shared our lives together for 17 years.
    His brother Linford, who was equally gorgeous, but more detached stayed with us until he was 20 years old.
    Now I have the wonderful memories of these two beautiful handsome ginger tom cats, but sadly no cats at present. But never say never.
    I send you both much love, best wishes and a long life together
    Kind regards
    Carol xx

    Reply
  9. Lesley Smith
    May 23, 2014 at 9:48 am (3 years ago)

    Hi to James and Bob
    Just finished your second book and loved it as much as the first one.

    Such an inspiring story and such an amazing cat.

    I am very much a cat lover myself with seven rescue cats residing with me all bought back when we returned from Spain a couple of years ago after living there for seven years rescuing and homing cats they are such amazing animals and constantly surprising us – I can see why Bob made his way into your heart!!

    Reply
  10. Françoise Ambuhl
    May 1, 2014 at 11:15 am (4 years ago)

    I’ts biutifhul history … C’est une magnifique histoire !…

    Reply
  11. Kurt, Marianne, & Blueberry
    January 18, 2014 at 2:26 pm (4 years ago)

    Nearly finished with your first book. In our Family, Blueberry is the cat, he is a flame point Himalayan with blue eyes. Bob looks like that 9Lives cat, Morris!

    Reply
  12. Kathy McNally
    January 14, 2014 at 1:23 pm (4 years ago)

    The most inspiring story I have read since Elsa in Born Free. I’m not religious in any way but having read that story has made me believe that some kind of divine intervention between these two lonely creatures took place. I would love to believe there may be many more out there.
    Hope they now have a long and happy life together.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      January 14, 2014 at 6:56 pm (4 years ago)

      I feel the same way, Kathy.

      Reply
  13. Deb Barnes - Zee and Zoey
    August 17, 2013 at 2:44 pm (4 years ago)

    Such a touching and inspirational story! Thank you for shedding a bit more light on James and Bob – I enjoyed the interview and wish man and cat nothing but happiness and peace with each new day.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      August 17, 2013 at 5:45 pm (4 years ago)

      I’m glad you enjoyed the interview, Deb. These two are special.

      Reply
  14. Cathy Keisha
    August 16, 2013 at 1:10 pm (4 years ago)

    Great innerview. I hope we’ll have a book budget someday so we can read it. Love that last picture showing the low they have for each other.

    Reply
  15. Mandy
    August 15, 2013 at 5:32 am (4 years ago)

    What a wonderful and insightful interview. I first saw James and Bob outside my office in Angel by the tube. I spoke to James who told me about how him and Bob met… and I thought then what a wonderful man to be so kind to a cat. A few weeks later he mentioned to me that there was someone who was interested in a book deal.. and the rest is history. So.. just goes to show.. luck can change and all because James took pity on a little ginger cat. Perfect story!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      August 15, 2013 at 6:29 am (4 years ago)

      I’m so “jealous” that you got to meet James and Bob, Mandy!

      Reply
  16. Margaret
    August 13, 2013 at 1:23 am (4 years ago)

    Lovely interview. Books are lovely, and very honest and inspiring.
    Nothing but good things for both cat and man – hope indeed all their dreams
    come true. They deserve it – and each other

    Reply
  17. maru
    August 12, 2013 at 10:11 am (4 years ago)

    Nice interview, the are quite a pair… thanks.
    Regards to your two girls from the three boys at home.

    Reply
  18. Kristina
    August 12, 2013 at 5:57 am (4 years ago)

    Great interview, Ingrid. The story of James and Bob just warms my heart. That little kitty came into James’ life for an amazing reason and it’s absolutely fabulous that Bob chose to say with him and now their life is the better because of it. I wish them both the best for a happy and peaceful life in the countryside. Also, I can’t wait to read the book!

    Reply
  19. Carol-Ann Drummond
    August 11, 2013 at 9:22 am (4 years ago)

    Love the interview. Great to see that Bob and James are doing well. Carol-Ann

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      August 11, 2013 at 7:41 am (4 years ago)

      Thanks for the link, Widya. Unfortunately, the email address provided by David Parker in the profile for the link is not correct. If you end up drawing that photo, please post the drawing on our Facebook page, I’d love to see it!

      Reply
  20. Gloria
    August 11, 2013 at 5:40 am (4 years ago)

    That last photo is wonderful and I cried too when I saw it. This story has such magic surrounding it and reminds us that life cannot be planned in a rigid way. Sometimes the best things unfold of their own accord. I hope that James realises his home in the country.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      August 11, 2013 at 7:42 am (4 years ago)

      You are so right about the best things in life unfolding without any planning, Gloria, and James and Bob are an amazing example of this!

      Reply
  21. Val Self
    August 11, 2013 at 5:10 am (4 years ago)

    This was a brilliant interview. I was lucky enough to meet James and Bob at one of their recent book signings and the bond and trust between them is incredible.
    I am involved with cat rehoming for our local Cats Protection branch in the UK and it is lovely to use James and Bob as an example of how rehoming an adult ‘streetcat’ can have such a positive outcome.
    Thank you so much.
    Val x

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      August 11, 2013 at 7:42 am (4 years ago)

      You are so lucky you got to meet James and Bob, Val! I hope that some day, they will come to the US.

      Reply
  22. Sandie Evans
    August 11, 2013 at 4:47 am (4 years ago)

    Great interview which answers all the questions their fans have – do hope all their dreams come true.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      August 11, 2013 at 7:43 am (4 years ago)

      Thanks, Sandie. I enjoyed asking the questions.

      Reply
      • Michelle Helps
        August 11, 2013 at 10:54 am (4 years ago)

        Great interview Ingrid and thanks. The story moves me to tears every time and I wish them both all the best.

        Reply
  23. Bobbi Hahn
    August 10, 2013 at 8:20 pm (4 years ago)

    Wow, Ingrid, you scored a major interview . . . and did an awesome job with it, I might add! Great questions! I’d love to read the second book if/when it becomes available in the U.S., and I agree with you about that last photo – so touching that it brought tears to my eyes as well.

    Reply
  24. Sue Brandes
    August 10, 2013 at 3:50 pm (4 years ago)

    I Adore the last photo of him and Bob. Wonderful interview. Will have to add this book to my reading.

    Reply
  25. toni / rctees
    August 10, 2013 at 3:04 pm (4 years ago)

    Ingrid you did a fabulous job on this interview, as always. I’ve seen several nice comments about how refreshing it is to see the direction you took your questions.
    And what a pleasant surprise to find such an awesome “shout out” to us. Your first interview with James over a ago is where I first saw and fell in love with James and Bob. I can’t thank you enough for that!! I’ve enjoyed following “the boys” and will continue to do so! I’m thinking a trip to Hollywood is next!

    Thanks again…keep up the amazing work!!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      August 10, 2013 at 3:37 pm (4 years ago)

      I’m glad you enjoyed the interview, Toni. It was fun sneaking the question about your T-shirt in there… 🙂

      Reply
  26. Jobi and Fisher
    August 10, 2013 at 1:45 pm (4 years ago)

    I loved this interview – every question got an “oh, that’s a good one!” I do agree with James that Bob should play himself in the movie. He is right. Who else could?!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      August 10, 2013 at 3:36 pm (4 years ago)

      I’m so glad you liked the questions! I had fun with this.

      Reply
  27. sarah pratley
    August 10, 2013 at 10:59 am (4 years ago)

    Great interview. Nice to have some different questions for a change.
    Think it would be nice to just add credit for the wonderful photo at the end of the interview that you love so much and the one at the beginning, to the very talented David Parker.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      August 10, 2013 at 1:05 pm (4 years ago)

      I am happy to give credit for the photos from James’ Facebook page, I did not know who took them. If you have contact information for David Parker, would you send it to me via email?

      Reply
      • sarah pratley
        August 15, 2013 at 8:13 am (4 years ago)

        Will do

        Reply
  28. riverfrontcats
    August 10, 2013 at 10:06 am (4 years ago)

    I loved the interview. Very excited about the movie. I hope they start filming soon!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      August 10, 2013 at 3:35 pm (4 years ago)

      I’m glad you loved the interview. I, too, am excited about a potential movie.

      Reply
  29. Marg
    August 10, 2013 at 8:08 am (4 years ago)

    Great interview. I need to get the first book . That is such a great story. Hugs to those two Tortie girls. Take care.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      August 10, 2013 at 3:35 pm (4 years ago)

      Allegra and Ruby send kitty kisses. You’ll love the book, Marg.

      Reply
  30. Deborah Julian Cat Art
    August 10, 2013 at 7:44 am (4 years ago)

    I loved A Street Cat Named Bob and can’t wait to read the sequel. So glad things are going so well for Bob and James.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      August 10, 2013 at 3:34 pm (4 years ago)

      You’ll love the sequel, Debbie.

      Reply

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