A Street Cat Named Bob: a Real Story of the Genuine Friendship

Have you ever felt that an invisible hand is protecting you from bad things happening? As if someone were taking care of you, leading you in the right direction? In addition to being a great story in its own right, “A Street Cat Named Bob” was produced and directed based on the best-selling autobiography by James Bowen - a drug abuser who went down the road to recovery while looking after a homeless cat called Bob. The movie shows more than an ordinary friendship, it is anchored in the lives of a man and a cat who were experiencing the worst that life could bring. But in the end, they could help each other and show the world the realities of a genuine friendship.

James Bowen and Bob

“A Street Cat Named Bob” is one of the many novels written by James Bowen which are dedicated to his beloved cat. Although, we got to know James after the movie was premiered, he was already famous in London. People around the world have come to London in order to amuse themselves with that nice and improbably pair.

From the movie A Street Cat Named Bob
Luke Treadaway in the movie A Street Cat Named Bob

But life was not always so exciting for James Bowen, who struggled with mental disease and drug abuse for years. Often, he was sleeping on the streets, sometimes without any food. It is the story of his destiny that comes out in the book and then the movie.

In the movie, Luke Treadaway appears in the role of James Bowen. He turns up near the end of movie playing himself, when “James Bowen” is preparing for an autograph session. He marvels at the truth of the story as the actual events were happening to him. Nice! A good position to take, an alternate vision of how all it might have been, but for the precious reality of a strong friendship. Joking, I think Bob would be a bit nervous if left alone on the set. It’s all up to him, and he never forsakes James.

To be exact, Bob had seven understudies, all similar-looking cats. And nobody doubled for James, although Luke has a twin – Harry Treadaway. As it is a British drama, cast and crew are introduced by classic actors: Ruta Gedmintas (Betty), Joanne Froggatt (Val), Anthony Head (Jack Bowen), and others. The director is Roger Spottiswoode. The story about a cute cat got a National British award as The Best movie. So, what is it about?


Real story

James Bowen, an authentic Englishman, was born in Surrey. After his parents divorced, he moved to Australia together with mother and stepfather. It was a global change for the small child, leading to many conflicts at school, with classmates who bullied, leading finally to a tendency to substance abuse.

He returned to the UK, where he lived with a half sister. Soon enough, mental illness pushed him out onto the streets, sleeping in the rough and becoming addicted to heroine to escape reality. It was a phase that lasted until he joined a methadone change programme, with a personal tutor and a bunk in a sketchy part of town.


Onscreen story

The director shows many details from James’s life, but the tie that matters begins when Bob crashes into the kitchen at night. Once he appears, Bowen`s life improves, and he becomes enriched both in money and in mental health.



What in Respect of Mental Health?

In several interviews, Bowen has declared that he feels that Bob needs him alive more than James is willing to give up on life. This leads to a situation in which they take care of each other, spending good times together as close friends, although there is a deep connection that matters even more. One day changes everything in a major way.

The seemingly random appearance of a homeless cat transforms James Bowen’s life of deadly dullness into a progressive path to hope and light. He receives the love he needs, not from people, but from a cat. From a professional psychologist’s point of view this is simply explained by the normal human need to be needed, overcoming personal pain or pushing aside other hurts that seem to be stuck in a time loop. The result is a kind of projection, which helps many people who are fighting inside for self-acceptance. Bob and James are an example of the support and friendship that can exist between people and animals.


What in Respect of Material Well-Being?

Almost inevitably, good mental health leads to an increase in James Bowen’s material realities. We start with the pair – and the man who persuaded “Big Issue” to publish a story about a cat, who was sitting on the man`s shoulder. They are easy to notice, and many people remember them. One day someone uploads a movie about James on YouTube, which records an enormous number of views. The editor-in-chief of a famous British magazine decides to make a book of the story and tell the man’s life before and the man’s life after he met the cat. It is the beginning of a new life for James. His autobiography becomes a bestseller, and Bowen is to be known forever through his story about Bob, even after he’s published dozens stories, also with Bob as a protagonist.


The Way to Global Humanity

All this means that the world is still looking for genuine friendship, for love, and for inner light, which is lacking in many lives. People always understand what is artificial, or what is created just to attract attention, or what was done just to make a show, and, of course, what speaks to the soul. James finds the right chord in his soul, and transforms the souls of others. This movie hooks you deeply and forces you to think about who you are. Are you always kind to others? Do you get your life’s priorities ordered towards family, friends, or yourself?

From the movie A Street Cat Named Bob
Luke Treadaway and Joanne Froggatt in the movie A Street Cat Named Bob

The plot shows that it’s not enough to give up your life. You are strong enough to build a new present and a future. And last, but not least, never be afraid of changing your life. As only you can make a decision to recover your path, some invisible power will bring you the right people. To complex opportunities, and what really is important, the inner strength to start changing. Someone is always protecting us just as we are setting in motion security for others. Finally, a capacity for compassion is a worthwhile factor in understanding others, which helps us to be a good friend and lead the way to global humanity.

Photos: MovieStillsDB

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