When James Bowen invited us here at ProtectaPet to design and build a catio for Street Cat Bob's garden, we were naturally a little bit starstruck. We'd read the books, watched the movies and seen the pair high-fiving at book signings. There was something really special about their relationship and how they'd brought each other through the worst of times, living homeless on the streets of London.
We got to work installing the catio at their new London home in 2018, with Bob observing us working from the patio doors and inspecting what we'd done on his lead at intervals throughout the day, even knocking over a chair as he looked around! He was curious and - unlike most cats - he was at home with strangers, crowds, traffic and familiar with the bustling streets of London.
We were so shocked to learn that, in spite of James's very best efforts to keep Bob safe and enriched in their home and garden, Bob went missing from the house. We caught up with James and found out that he suspects Bob used significant strength to force open a slightly ajar upstairs skylight.
In these absolutely tragic circumstances, we wanted to assure ProtectaPet customers and those considering one of our systems that Bob did not leave through his Catio.
For those with concerns for their own cat’s safety here are just a few ways in which you can help to further protect your cat.
- Enrich your house and garden with cat safe plants, dynamic toys, hiding places and look out points
- Make regular inspections of your cat barrier solution, ensuring any plant growth or damage is fixed
- Can you use internal doors as an extra level of protection when entering and exiting the house?
- Can you attach latches or mesh screening to windows to prevent them opening too far?
- Finally, it is really important to microchip your cat, enabling you to be reunited. The CatsMatter team are campaigning for the compulsory scanning of the estimated 230,000 cats per annum that have been involved in road traffic accidents.
Bob lived to the age of 14, which is a credit to James's care and love in spite of their dire circumstances. James was working with veterinary professionals to manage his ongoing kidney condition and Bob's days were numbered, but still cut short by this tragedy. If you wish to support James Bowen he has many upcoming projects in memory of Bob. ‘A Tribute In Memory Of Streetcat Bob’ is a gofundme campaign for a memorial garden is now live. James also has longer term goals such as a foundation in Bob’s name for humans and animals who have no voice, and a documentary series exploring how different societies view homelessness.
We wish James the absolute best of luck in his future endeavours and our deepest condolences for an incredible cat who had a huge impact all over the World.