Monday, January 18, 2010

A sad story out of England about a cat who liked to ride the bus.

In the end, commuting killed the cat.

Last year, an English feline made headlines internationally, after it was discovered that Casper — an aging housecat from Plymouth — would board the same 10:55 a.m. bus.

He would curl up as the No. 3 transit coach moved past the dockyard, naval base, the center of town, the suburbs and even the city’s colorful red light district.

As far as drivers could remember, the commute went on for three or four years.
Sometimes he would catnap during the hour run — often taking up a back seat. Or he would casually saunter between the legs of his fellow travelers.

He got a free pass.

The only time the drivers paid much attention was recently when they would make sure the aging cat got off at the right stop, once the round-trip was over.

His owner didn’t know where Casper vanished to each day, until the story broke in the local newspaper.

“I couldn’t believe it at first, but it explains a lot,” his owner, Susan Finden, told the press when she found out.

“He loves people and we have a bus stop right outside our house so that must be how he got started — just following everyone on.”

It was estimated Casper’s journeys covered more than 32,000 kilometers, though news of his treks went well beyond that.

But the rush to keep up the daily pace recently caught up with Casper. A sign at the bus stop he used has been tacked up. It reads:

“Many local people knew Casper, who loved everyone. He also loved the bus journeys.
“Sadly a motorist hit him…and did not stop.”

The note, from his owner Finden, says the injuries were too great, and Casper is gone.

“Thank you to all those who befriended him,” she concludes.

Finden says Casper died while trying to cross the street — hit by a taxi as he apparently tried to catch the bus.

“Reading about your travels put a smile on my face,” wrote one fan, who found whimsy in a cat that happily invested all nine lives in the daily rat race.

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