James Bowen must have made quite a lot of money from Bob his cat companion. James recently visited his publisher, Hodder & Stoughton, who told him that he had sold his millionth book in Britain. We are not told how many books he has sold elsewhere but we are told they are “international best sellers”. He celebrated the occasion with Bob and his friend Belle. They had a bottle of Cava wine and Bob had his favourite, Sheba salmon and gravy (Sheba is an expensive brand of cat food that you buy in supermarkets) – purrrfection.
You may remember James Bowen. He was a drug addict busking in London, selling the Big Issue and stealing meat from butchers shops which he sold in public houses in order to support his heroin habit. Then he met Bob, the ginger tabby and white stray cat. He saw Bob sitting on a step in a stairwell in Covent Garden, Central London. He stroked Bob and noticed that he had some bald patches in his fur and some scratch marks and an abscess. James thinks he had been attacked by a fox. That was the first meeting.
The next day James met Bob again at the same place and this time he knocked on the door of a flat that Bob was sitting outside and asked whether they owned him. They did not and that is the beginning of the story of James Bowen and Bob the cat because Bob followed James wherever he went. He got Bob fixed up with antibiotics and all of a sudden he realized that he had someone to care for, to be responsible for and because of that his health was important because he could not be responsible for Bob if he was on drugs. This was the beginning of the turnaround for James and for that he thanks Bob.
Since that meeting James has published two books about his life with Bob and, as mentioned, has sold 1 million copies in Britain alone. I do not know how much money James has made from his books. He had somebody helping him write the books, a co-author, Garry Jenkins. Nonetheless, I would expect James to be financially “comfortable” at this stage and there is more to come. It is not impossible to imagine that James will become a millionaire one-day if he isn’t one already. What a transformation!
I feel very comfortable with the way that Bob has made money for James. Without Bob this would not have happened. This is a celebration of the power of the cat and how a cat can help a person, at the very least, and sometimes transform their lives. It is celebrating the domestic cat and that can only be positive.
You have to compare this with another celebrity cat who makes lots of money for her owners: Grumpy Cat. I know that I have made some controversial remarks about this celebrity cat but I strongly believe that Grumpy Cat has been exploited. There is a marked difference in the nature of their stories. The whole moneymaking machine in respect of Grumpy Cat turns on her appearance which is due to a medical condition (genetic condition) which has created an anatomical deformity in her face. It is pure commerce while Bob’s story is about friendship, rebuilding one’s life and the positive effects of cat companionship.
All right, I just wanted to make the point that it is possible to make money from a cat and do it in a way that is not exploiting or abusing the cat. Indeed in Bob’s case it is the opposite.
James says that Bob is a bit of a superstar. He says that Bob is more popular than him and people treat him like a deity. In addition, James does a lot of charity work. He teaches people about the realities of homelessness. This is important for James. He is currently writing a book about Bob’s life before he met him. He will have to rely on his imagination but no doubt it will be a celebration of the humble stray cat.
James’s books: A Street Cat Named Bob and The World According to Bob