A furry feline that became a symbol of addiction recovery for his owner has passed away at the age of 14. At the height of his fame, with a book and a movie named after him, he even met The Duchess of Cambridge at his own film premiere.
Bob, the cat behind the eponymous A Street Cat Named Bob book, written by his owner, James Bowen, and published in 2012, died on Monday.
“Bob saved my life. It’s as simple as that,” said James Bowen in a statement to The Bookseller news website.
Bowen wrote the book to talk about their adventures as he dealt with addiction and recovery and took care of the injured cat. After its success, he continued the series with further adventures starring Bob.
“When James Bowen found an injured, ginger street cat curled up in the hallway of his sheltered accommodation, he had no idea just how much his life was about to change,” reads the book’s synopsis on publisher Hodder & Stoughton’s website.
“James was living hand to mouth on the streets of London, and the last thing he needed was a pet. Yet James couldn’t resist helping the strikingly intelligent tom cat…he slowly nursed Bob back to health and then sent the cat on his way, imagining he would never see him again. But Bob had other ideas.”
Bowen said: “He gave me so much more than companionship. With him at my side, I found a direction and purpose that I’d been missing. The success we achieved together through our books and films was miraculous. He’s met thousands of people, touched millions of lives. There’s never been a cat like him. And never will again.
“I feel like the light has gone out in my life. I will never forget him.”
Bob starred as himself in the 2016 film, A Street Cat Named Bob and entertained a royal guest at his film premiere that November.
The Duchess of Cambridge had the honour of meeting Bob when she attended the premiere in her role as Patron of Action on Addiction. Meeting Bob, who was sitting on a cushion on a pedestal, Kate said that he was being very good and jokingly asked, “Is that purring or growling?” while petting him.
At the premiere, Bowen said that he was “honoured that [Kate is] coming and that her charity has made themselves associated with our film. If it hadn’t been for programs to help me get off drugs, I certainly wouldn’t be standing here doing these interviews today, that’s for sure.”