A stray cat who helped a homeless recovering addict and inspired a film and several books has died at around 14 years old.
James Bowen, a recovering addict, first discovered Bob, an abandoned and injured cat, in 2007.
Bowen took care of the ginger cat and had him by his side as he busked and sold The Big Issue – an enterprise magazine sold by rough-sleepers – on the streets of London.
The story of the pair’s unlikely bond and Bowen’s life inspired Bowen’s first book, “A Street Cat Named Bob,” along with several other sequels – “The World According to Bob,” “A Gift from Bob” and “The Little Book of Bob.”
The books sold eight million copies, according to publisher Hodder & Stoughton, with sales of the novels totaling £8.18 million ($10.3 million). The story also served as the basis for a 2016 film – starring Bob as himself.
“Bob saved my life. It’s as simple as that. He gave me so much more than companionship. With him at my side, I found a direction and purpose that I’d been missing,” Bowen said in a statement released by Hodder & Stoughton, which confirmed Bob’s death at “at least 14 years.”
“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,” he said.
Steven MacKenzie, features editor for The Big Issue, paid tribute to Bob the “incredible cat” in an article on the magazine’s website.
“All of us at The Big Issue will never forget the impact Bob had on not just James’ life but many of our vendors who could relate to his story. Magazines that featured Bob on the cover were always top sellers, and vendors looked forward to selling those editions and speaking to customers who were also fans,” he wrote.
“Our condolences are with James and everyone else who was touched by this incredible cat.”