Two lost souls meet in an apartment stairwell.
One of them is a recovering heroin addict. He comes home every evening from London’s Covent Garden, where he plays his guitar — “busking” — and hopes the passing commuters and tourists dropped a few coins in his guitar case.
The other is a tabby cat with bald patches.
If you’ve got a weakness for cats, or just want to root for two creatures who need a break in this heartless world, you might enjoy James Bowen’s memoir, A Street Cat Named Bob: And How He Saved My Life.
Bowen can barely take care of himself. He has no business taking in anything that needs to be fed and protected. Yet out of simple human decency, he buys a tin of cat food and delivers the animal to the free vet for a look at the abcess on his leg.
Then he turns Bob the Cat loose.
“One day I headed out for work as usual. I had packed my large black acoustic guitar with its red trim on the edge of the body, slung it over my shoulder along with my rucksack and headed downstairs.
“I saw Bob was sitting in an alleyway and said hello. When he started to follow me, I shooed him away, as usual.
“’Stay there, you can’t come where I’m going,’ I said.”
Bowen makes his way through the traffic of London and, waiting to cross a roaring highway, “I felt someone — or something — rub against my leg. Instinctively, I looked down. I saw a familiar figure standing alongside me.”
That is one cool cat.
If you know kitties, you know that a scraped chair leg or even a doorbell can send them scrambling under the bed. But Bob apparently decides that any place safe for Bowen is safe enough for Bob.
And check out the book cover: This is how Bob likes to travel through London.
That wouldn’t work with my own cat. Or would it?
I’ll let you discover for yourself what happens when the tourists and the commuters discover a fluffy tabby cat sitting in Bowen’s open guitar case each day.
Not everybody is pleased. Jealous neighboring buskers and subway officers dream up ways to tell this pair to “Scat!”
Can a screw-up straighten out when an orange tabby cat looks up at him with a trusting, intelligent gaze?
Prepare yourself for a heart-warming read.
Adoring tourists in Covent Garden have been known to press money into Bowen’s hand and tell him to “’Give yourself and your lovely cat a treat.’”
And the same to you, from me, minus the pound-note. Get yourself to Kroger to buy the ingredients for Crunchy Candy Clusters, and don’t forget something fishy for the cat.
The recipe instructs you to heat the white chocolate in a slow cooker, then stir in the peanut butter. The only problem is pouring the stuff out of a hot and heavy crock. You might melt your candy in the microwave instead.