Celebrity cat killed in hit and run
A MUCH-loved Barne Barton cat who made headlines around the world has died after being hit by a car.
Casper the commuting cat fast became a celebrity on Plymouth buses when he used to politely queue with the other passengers, before hopping aboard to travel around the city.
His owner says she’s devastated and doubts she’ll ever have a cat like Casper again.
Sue Finden said: “I never dreamt I’d miss an animal as much as I miss him. He was lovely and loved people so much – he was such a different character.”
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She said she only found out about his death when a woman knocked on her door to tell her she’d seen Casper get hit by a car, but the driver hadn’t stopped.
She took Casper into the house but realised he’d already died.
“If he’d been ill we might have prepared for it but it hasn’t helped us that the driver didn’t stop – we couldn’t believe it.”
Sue discovered Casper’s escapades when he followed her onto a bus and a First Devon and Cornwall bus driver said he travelled with them all the time.
The Plymouth puss featured on websites from England’s tabloids to the USA’s mystateline.com.
Headlines Casper enjoyed included ‘Stowaway Cat gets bus-ted’, in The Sun while The Press Association went with ‘Joyrider Casper given a puss pass’. He also appeared on a diverse range of other websites.
He proved a hit with drivers and customers alike, who always made sure he returned home safely.
Casper’s journey took him from just outside his house in Poole Park Road to the final stop at Royal Parade and back, via St Budeaux Square, HMS Drake, Keyham, Devonport and Stonehouse.
Mrs Finden added: “I thought it was only decent that I let the public know what had happened to him as he made so many friends and would turn up to the bus stop like clockwork.”
She posted a notice at Casper’s usual bus stop in Poole Park Road, saying: “Many local people knew Casper, who loved everyone. He also enjoyed the bus journeys.
“Sadly a motorist hit him... and did not stop.”
“Casper died from his injuries. He will be greatly missed... he was a much loved pet who had so much character. Thank you to all those who befriended him.”
Marc Reddy, Managing Director of First Devon and Cornwall, expressed the company’s sympathy for the friendly feline.
He said: “We were devastated to hear that Casper had been involved in an accident; he was a regular passenger on Service 3 in Plymouth and had become very well known across the business.
“On hearing the news of his death, many of the drivers expressed sympathy for him and Susan, and we contacted her to offer our collective condolences.
“Casper touched many people’s lives and clearly had a very exciting life – travelling around Plymouth and who knows where else. I suspect he’s now exploring heaven and is telling all the other cats up there about the many adventures he had.”
Casper was so popular that an image of him was emblazoned onto the side of a First Devon and Cornwall bus.
Mr Reddy said: “Casper’s image will remain on the bus for some time to come, and we hope that seeing it around town will give Susan some comfort.”
He added that Casper is also due to feature in a children’s TV programme later this year, detailing his exploits on the bus in the city.
“His memory will live on, giving people pleasure, for a while yet,” he added.
Mrs Finden said that Casper had been cremated at a local vets crematorium.
She would like to thank the woman who let her know that Casper had been hit.