A film based on the inspiring true story of a homeless man battling addiction — and the street cat who saves him — is finally moving ahead.
"A Street Cat Named Bob: And How He Saved My Life" became an international bestseller when it was published in 2012 by a street busker named James Bowen. Five years earlier, Bowen had been enrolled in a drug addiction program and living in sheltered accommodation in London when he came across a flea-ridden, injured ginger cat curled up in his hallway. After days of no one claiming the cat, he took him to a vet, made sure he received two weeks of antibiotics, and then once again set him free upon the streets. Unbeknownst to Bowen, the cat had already decided on a home and began following him everywhere.
“I believe it came down to this little man," Bowen writes in his book. "He came and asked me for help, and he needed me more than I needed to abuse my own body.”
Bowen named the cat Bob after a "Twin Peaks" character, fashioned a harness from shoestrings, and began taking him busking. As one might expect, the pair became an instant sensation. "The minute Bob started working with me, people started paying more attention to me," Bowen told USA Today.
A film about this heartwarming story is slated to being production in October, with "Unbroken" star Luke Treadaway signed to play Bowen. What's currently still something of a mystery is who exactly will play the role of Bob; though if you ask his owner, there's really only one choice.
"Who would play Bob? He would have to play himself I think," Bowen told The Conscious Cat. "There’s no one quite like him."
Based on the ever-changing whims of felines, producers will likely have to cast several "Bobs" for the film. So if you happen to own or know of a ginger cat who was born for the camera, takes directions well, and can balance easily on the shoulders of a Hollywood star, it might be worth reaching out. Just don't forget to negotiate for a plush trailer and unlimited catnip.
As for Bob and James, they're no longer busking on the streets — having turned their attention to making a difference for others.
"We're trying to give back to those who helped us by raising awareness and money for homeless and animal welfare charities," Bowen said in a Reddit AMA. "And yes, we are working on some more books."
The pair took a big step towards their goal this past April after raising more than $240,000 through a crowdfunding campaign to open Bob's World Cat Cafe. In addition to serving teas and coffee, the London-based business will offer refuge for abused and abandoned cats.
"We are looking to create a safe haven for not only cats that need the love, but for the people who love cats too," Bowen writes. "By having this café, we offer you the opportunity to interact with James and Bob, and contribute to helping abandoned pets in London."
Bob's World Cat Cafe is expected to open later this year.