Big Issue Vendor

Street Cat Bob tributes pour in from fans all over the world

The Big Issue has been inundated with messages and memories of the superstar cat after his death was announced yesterday
James Bowen and Street Cat Bob

The heartbreaking news of Street Cat Bob’s death has touched hordes of his fans all over the world.

The incredible cat, who rose to fame for the part he played in turning around Big Issue vendor James Bowen’s life, died on June 15 and was thought to be 14 years old.

His long-time companion James led the tributes to Bob, vowing that he will “never forget him”, and he has now started a fundraising campaign to raise cash for a permanent statue in Bob’s memory.

It is not the only campaign for a memorial – Bob fan Kirsten Skillen has also started a petition for a blue plaque or artwork to be placed on Angel Tube station in London’s Islington where Bob and James worked when he sold The Big Issue.

There have also been celebrity tributes to the famous ginger cat with television presenters Suzi Perry and Anthea Turner among the stars passing on their condolences.

Since the news of Bob’s death broke yesterday, hundreds of Big Issue readers and Bob’s legions of fans – affectionately known as Bobites – have been in touch with us to pay tribute.

Laura Picken wrote: “I’m so sad about this. I read the book during lockdown and Bob sounded like the most amazing cat. I smiled so much reading about him.”

Reader Jo Guy reflected on how Bob’s enormous popularity continued to have an impact on Big Issue vendors long after James’ stint selling the magazine ended and he and Bob became a publishing sensation with a hit series of bestselling books and a feature film. A sequel, called A Gift from Bob, is due out later this year.

Jo said: “Bob is truly a legend of the cat world and touched so many lives. I remember my local Big Issue seller having to restock multiple times in a day whenever Bob was on the cover. My thoughts are with James.”

And another reader John P Mullins expressed why Bob meant so much to cat lovers too. He said: “I discovered Bob after having lost a cat that was very similar in nature to Bob. It was through James and Bob that I learned of the Big Issue and I am proud to say that when I get to the UK I always buy a copy.”

Astrid Schandy demonstrated Bob’s worldwide appeal and how his books have played a huge role in the lives of fans both young and old. The Norwegian reader said: “I read in your pages that Bob the cat has passed… how sad for James. And it is sad for my kids too. My 16 year old daughter (Sofia) read the books when she was 12 and 13, and read them out loud to her little brother with some translation “of the best bits” since he was not as good in English then (We are Norwegian, living in Oslo). Sofia knitted I don’t know how many scarves of all colours during the course of a few months. Kindly pass on our best wishes to James and let him know that there are some kids in Norway that hold Bob in their hearts.”

We will be putting together a special tribute edition of The Big Issue. If you have memories you’d like to share please email