Bus driver and passengers pay tribute to Casper the cat who would board Plymouth bus and ride around city
The tale of Casper the commuting cat, who would politely queue with bus passengers before contentedly riding around Plymouth, made headlines and raised smiles around the world.
Sadly the cat's love affair with the open road has proved his downfall after he was killed by a hit-and-run driver, it emerged today.
A notice appeared at the cat's usual bus stop 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."
Casper's life on the buses came to international attention last year. It turned out that for four years he had been riding the no 3 bus, passing the Devon city's historic dockyard and naval base, en route.
He tended to curl up on a seat or sometimes purr around fellow passengers' legs, all the way to the final stop, stay on and make the return journey. Drivers got used to letting him off at the correct stop.
His owner, Sue Finden, said she had never understood what he was doing until a bus driver let her into the secret of Casper's travelling.
"I couldn't believe it at first, but it explains a lot. 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," she said at the time.
Postings on the website of Casper's local newspaper [http://www.thisisplymouth.co.uk/news/Celebrity-cat-killed-hit-run/article-1718680-detail/article.html" title="Postings], the Herald, proved just what a popular character he was.
"Hail to Casper the cat, I'll miss ya m8 ride in heaven," wrote Chris the bus driver. "RIP Casper, you will be missed," said another reader.
There were, inevitably, a few sick jokes, while Mick from Plymouth said he would not have let any cat of his run across roads and jump on buses.
And Eternal Optimist questioned whether the paper should be troubling itself with Casper's story: "I am so glad that I live in such a peaceful and crime-free city as Plymouth where so little happens that a dead cat is considered newsworthy."
However, Mel of Plymouth summed up the feeling of most: "RIP Casper, you were one cool cat! Reading about your travels put a smile on my face."