James and Bob inspire us at Crossroads Trust.

There is nothing more uplifting than a true story of the connection between man and our furry friends, and the story of James Bowen and his gorgeous cat Bob illustrates this perfectly.

It was with great excitement that today three Crossroads Trust volunteers did some very satisfying British queuing in drizzly Coventry to meet Bob and his human James Bowen. Was it because we are just your stereotypical ‘mad cat ladies?’ Well, actually yes that is undoubtedly true, but there is more to this than merely a kitty fan base in Nuneaton and North Warwickshire.

The wonderful story of James and Bob inspires us at Crossroads Trust. James was a recovering drug addict when he found an injured Bob curled up on a step when he was living in sheltered accommodation. With mutual love and understanding, James
nursed Bob back to health and Bob returned the favour by helping James in his own recovery. A literary agent found James and Bob during the period when James sold The Big Issue on his pitch at Covent Garden with Bob at his feet. Their first book was published in 2012. The appeal and fortunes of James and Bob have endured, captivating readers across the globe. Several books later, Crossroads Trust went to meet James and Bob at Coventry Waterstones on Friday 24th October.

James said to the Guardian in March 2014, “I never ever thought I would be able to turn my life around … and be the voice of people who can’t be heard.” This is the inspiration behind the story. It helps generate compassion and interest in the plight of the human condition, it gives a voice to those struggling on the margins of society and enables us to see with empathy that life is not always easy, that those who might experience mental health issues, addiction, personal crisis, or who find themselves with convictions and complexities in their life can make positive changes, they can, with the help of others (furry others included), have hope and a future. As I said to James today, ‘you inspire others to have hope of second chances and changes in fortune.’ I briefly told him about our peer mentoring service, helping those to better integrate into our community after experiencing a prison sentence or convictions. ‘I like that,’ he said, ‘I like all that’.

Thank you James for sharing your story and we wish you and Bob well on life’s adventure together.

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