James Bowen who has made a half million pounds from his book about Bob the cat has rent paid by the taxpayer

James Bowen and Bob
Bob soaking up the adulation while James signs the books. Photo by Abigail Silvester
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You probably remember James Bowen and Bob the cat. James was a busker, homeless and a heroin addict when along came a ginger tabby street cat who he called Bob. They formed a great partnership. Bob helped James to straighten out his life and James provided companionship, food and shelter for Bob. As a consequence a book was written. The book and other enterprises have made James quite well off financially, being worth an estimated £500,000.

James used to live and continues to live in a Peabody Trust housing association flat. The rent for that flat was paid through benefits i.e. by the taxpayer.

When a person starts to earn sufficient money to pay rent himself he has to disclose that to the local authority. James says he has done this although he is not sure whether he did it within the usual timeframe under the rules.

However, the rent for the flat is still being paid by the taxpayer under housing benefit as I understand it. This is going to be upsetting to some people because it is turning a really positive story about James and Bob into one which is a little bit seedy on the face of it.

Bob the cat at angel station
Photographer says: There’s a Big Issue seller who has a pitch in the afternoons outside Angel tube station. A while ago, he found a stray cat with a badly bust up leg, so being a kindly soul, he took the cat along to an animal shelter to get it sorted out. Photo by Stuff n Nonsense

However, the story is complicated because James says that he personally told the council, Social Security and the Peabody Trust housing association that he was able to pay rent himself. He has been doing this for two years but, he says, the Peabody Trust won’t cash his cheques in payment of the rent.

This is quite an interesting story and the problem seems to originate not with James Bowen but with the Peabody Trust. There appears to been a breakdown in communication between them and the local authority.the story is also interesting because the public now knows how much James has earned through his books.

James, is apparently looking for a property because he has made a mortgage application. So no doubt, in due course in any event, he will be moving out of his housing association flat but in the meantime he needs to straighten out this problem because somebody might argue that he has been fraudulently claiming housing benefit when it appears, as stated, that this is simply a mixup.

4 thoughts on “James Bowen who has made a half million pounds from his book about Bob the cat has rent paid by the taxpayer”

  1. The two books by James Bowen and Bob are just brilliant, I loved the book about Dewey, Casper the commuting cat is a good read, the ugliest cat in the shelter is also very good, there are loads more. So pleased that James and Bob have made a nice load of dosh, they definitely deserve it. James and Bob, made my day, when they wrote back to me after I commented on their brilliant book.

    Samantha Martin

    • It is a great story about the power of love between human and cat. It must have helped improve the profile of the domestic cat worldwide. It is a bit sad that this problem with benefits has arisen. I hope James can clear it up asap.

  2. Wow! I had never heard of him, but I hope he doesn’t get into trouble because the Peabody Trust isn’t doing their job.

    I do enjoy knowing about people who’ve bettered their lives through caring for cats or dogs. Now, I’m curious to read the book.

    The last cat book I read was about Dewey, the Library Cat, which I really enjoyed. I saw it in a thrift store, and that little face on the cover drew me in like a magnet. There was another book afterwards, but it was more about other special cats. Then there’s Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover’s Soul. Can anyone recommend others?

    • James Bowen and Bob are big in the UK. Bob is the number celebrity cat in the UK as far as I know. Because he is not an internet celebrity he is not known that well in the USA. That is my guess.

      I have “i am maru”, the story of Maru the famous box-loving cat. There is a nice behind-the-scenes story describing the relationship between the lady who cares for Maru and Maru himself.

      I also have a book on Sir Partrick Moore who died recently. He was a well-known figure in the UK (an astronomer) and he loved cats. He said “cats really are nicer than people”.


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