Big Issue Vendor

The Big Issue pays tribute to Street Cat Bob

His loyal companion James Bowen says: "There’s never been a cat like him" – and we couldn't agree more

We are saddened to report that Bob, the street cat who rose to fame by James Bowen’s side as he sold The Big Issue and busked in London, has died.

James, a recovering addict, first met Bob in 2007 when he found him abandoned and injured. James took care of Bob who in turn gave him a reason to get up each morning. They quickly became inseparable, busking and selling The Big Issue on the streets of London.

Their tale was picked up in a series of books published by Hodder & Stoughton. The first, A Street Cat Named Bob in 2012, told James his Bob’s extraordinary story.

It was a publishing sensation, selling – along with its sequels The World According to Bob, A Gift from Bob and The Little Book of Bob – more than eight million books in more than 40 languages, and was made into the film in 2016 starring Luke Treadaway as James. Bob appeared in the film as himself and will appear in a sequel, A Gift from Bob, later this year.

Bob was thought to be at least 14 years old.

His loyal companion James Bowen said: “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.

“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. I feel like the light has gone out in my life. I will never forget him.”

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.

Our condolences are with James and everyone else who was touched by this incredible cat.

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