Read Street Cat Bob’s lessons for life in this week’s The Big Issue

Former Big Issue vendor James Bowen was lost and alone until a stray ginger cat called Bob sauntered into his life. A clutch of bestselling books and a blockbusting film later, James talks us through the five vital life lessons Bob has given him

It’s now more than a decade since my ginger cat Bob and I first met. It’s fair to say that since then both our lives have changed rather dramatically. Yet throughout that time one thing has been a constant – Bob’s Zen-like wisdom.

It’s uncanny. It’s as if he is some ancient philosopher who understands everything and everyone around him, as if he’s seen it all before, knows life inside out. Nothing seems to faze him, he takes everything in his stride.

I know it might sound strange or even slightly silly to say this about a cat, but I have frequently found him inspirational. Sometimes simply sitting down and watching him is enough to set my mind whirring away. I’m fascinated by the way he conducts himself, the way he interacts with the world and responds to different situations – even the way he lives his day-to-day routine. Being with him has opened my eyes to so much. For the past decade he has genuinely been a kind of guru to me.

His influence has been so great, in fact, that I’ve now written a book, The Little Book of Bob, collecting together some of the experiences and insights I’ve gained during our time together. It occurred to me while writing it that I wished I’d learned some of these lessons a little sooner. It would have made my life a lot less painful, saved me from getting myself into a few scrapes. It would definitely have made things more fulfilling, that’s for sure.

Read the full article in this week's Big Issue.
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The Little Book of Bob: Life Lessons from a Streetwise Cat by James Bowen is out now (Hodder & Stoughton, £9.99)

With thanks to Garry Jenkins