I recently recorded the death of Bob, the ginger tabby cat who found fame when he turned around the life of James Bowen from a drug addict living on his wits to a settled man in flat with Bob besides him in bed (link to article). It was a long a hugely successful story. Bowen and Bob had been together since 2007. I wondered how he had died.
Today, it has come to light that Bob was hit by a car less than a mile from his home. Bob was struck on the head. He died instantaneously. Bob’s body was taken to a vet by a member of the public. The name of the driver is unknown. He appears not to have stopped at the accident. There are calls for the UK law to make it obligatory to stop as is the case for dogs.
The Daily Mail reports that 2 weeks before Bob disappeared Bowen wrote on his Facebook page:
These days his street cat lifestyle is long behind him, but of course Bob likes a breath of fresh air every now and again.
Bob had a purpose built catio which he appears to have escaped (but Bowen’s statement indicates to me that he let Bob go outside but I may be misinterpreting it). Late last Saturday James noticed that he was missing when he could not find him at bedtime. Bob used to sleep on his bed on a blue fleece over the duvet.
“I went outside and called him but he didn’t come” Bowen told the Daily Mail. On Monday a vet called Bowen to say Bob had been found “but it’s bad mews”.
Bob accompanied Bowen on many of his worldwide book tours, purring happily. He appeared as himself in a 2016 film starring Luke Treadaway as Bowen. Later this year a sequel will be aired called A Gift from Bob. He was a gift to us all. A fine cat who tragically died like many others in Britain: on the road.
Some more information added at a later date – Jan 10th, 2022
Here is a bit more about this beautiful ginger tabby cat and his terrible passing. As you might know at the time of Bob’s disappearance James Bowen was living in accommodation rather than on the street and he had Bob with him, of course. Bob had popped out after dinner. He hadn’t come home. James went out to try and find him and get him to come home. His fiancée, Monika and himself searched for Bob all day on the following Monday. And then on Monday at about 5 PM James Bowen felt nauseous. It seems that at that moment he realised that Bob had passed or he was frightened that he had.
Less than an hour later a vet called. When he talked about this phone call he started to cry. The vet said: “We’ve got Bob here, but it’s bad news.”
James said: “Please don’t say it. Don’t say it.”
Then the vet said: “He’s been in an accident and he’s passed away”.
As I said earlier in the article he was hit on the head by the vehicle. The trauma caused a haematoma that killed him instantly. A member of the public found him and took him to the vet. Apparently, the driver didn’t stop which is fairly common. It’s quite rare for a driver to stop in the UK when they had a cat.
It must have been a terrible time for James. Bob had quite a few years left in him and he was the most important part of James Bowen’s life. He changed his life. He said “His influence on my life has been extraordinary. He made me believe in myself”. Bob straightened out James. Helped to get him of drugs. Now, after Bob’s passing James seems to live a normal life. The street life has gone. It is a terribly tragic story. Make me sad to think of it.
James’s books about his story made him a lot of money. As of January 2022, James Bowen had an estimated net worth of $2 million. There were two books the first being a bestseller. The story was made into a film released in 2016 starring Luke Treadaway as Bowen. Treadaway was cast in the role because he could sing and play guitar. In the film it is his voice and his guitar playing. This was required because as you probably know James Bowen busked on the streets of London to make a living. Bob was by his side.
And Bob the Cat played himself in the film nearly all the time. They tried finding another cat but Bob got the job. He was a great cat. A truly great cat and it’s so sad that he was with James on the streets and survived but when he got a home he didn’t. He was a street cat perhaps that’s why his life had to end this way.