Mahathir Mohamad spent Christmas reading one of his favourite books – a true story of a cat which became an international success


A good read can make all the difference to a person’s day, and Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad knows it.

The 92-year-old PM spent his Christmas holiday catching up on reading, he said in a Facebook post.

Photos he posted show him sitting in an outdoor chair, with the book “A Street Cat Named Bob” in his hands.

He added that the book, written by English author and busker James Bowen, was one of his favourite books.

An avid reader, Dr Mahathir has in the past urged Malaysians to read more books. He also hashtagged his post #MalaysiaMembaca, which was used by Education Minister Maszlee Malik in a bid to encourage Malaysians to share what their favourite books are.

First published in 2010, the true story of how former drug addict Bowen met a street cat which “saved” his life was an international hit, entering the New York Times bestseller list at seventh place when it debuted in the US in 2013.

Here’s 5 facts about the award-winning story which show what a success it has become.

1. It spawned a sequel and many other books based on Bob the cat.

Some of the books written about Bob since he found fame.
Amazon screengrab

While the original book was translated into 30 languages, a sequel titled “The World According to Bob” released in 2013 also entered The Sunday Times’ bestsellers list.

A series of other books, including storybooks and picture books for children, were also released.

2. There is a film based on the story – and Bob stars as himself

Bob was further catapulted into fame when he starred as himself in a movie based on the book.

It has a rating of 77 per cent on film review site Rotten Tomatoes, and 7.4/10 on Imdb.

The feel-good film even took home the Best British Film award at the National Film Awards UK in 2017.

3. From stray to social media star

Bob the cat has found fame online too, with close to 564,000 followers on Facebook, 91,300 followers on Twitter and 51,300 on Instagram.

There are even travel photos on Bob’s Instagram account.


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James and Bob in Lisbon last month #Bobrigado

A post shared by Street Cat Bob (@streetcatnamedbob) on

4. There’s an animation based on Bob


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A post shared by Street Cat Bob (@streetcatnamedbob) on

Since Bob has been such a hit with children, it only makes sense that there’s an animation based on him.

According to Bob’s Instagram account, the animation titled “Street cat Bob” was released in April this year.

5. He’s met the Duchess of Cambridge

Britain’s Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, greets Bob the cat as she arrives for the world premiere of “A Street Cat Named Bob” on November 3, 2016.

A cat with a story as amazing as Bob’s deserves royal treatment.

Bob officially met the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, in 2016 when she attend the premier of his movie.

She even stopped to stroke his short ginger fur, and commented that he was “being very good“, Hello Magazine reported.