January 19, 2010 / 4:32 PM / 8 years ago

Bus-riding cat Casper killed in hit & run

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - A cat which became famous in Britain for riding on the buses around the southern English city of Plymouth has died after being run over, media reported.

Casper, a 12-year-old black and white cat, used to wait with commuters at a bus stop outside his home and then hop on to the number 3 bus to find a seat to curl up on.

The cat was so well-known on the service that drivers knew at which stop to let him off.

Casper's death was announced on a notice put up at his bus stop by his owner, the BBC and local newspapers reported.

"Many local people knew Casper, who loved everyone -- he also enjoyed the bus journeys," it said.

"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."

The bus service, First Devon and Cornwall, said it was "devastated" by the cat's death.

"Casper touched many people's lives and clearly had a very exciting life traveling around Plymouth and who knows where else," a company spokeswoman said in a statement.

"I suspect he's now exploring heaven and is telling all the other cats up there about the many adventures he had."

A picture of the cat will continue to be used on one of the company's buses, it said.

Casper's owner, 55-year-old Susan Finden, who re-homed him from a rescue center in 2002, said he had always been a free spirit and was named after the cartoon character Casper the Friendly Ghost, because of his habit of wandering off.

The website for local newspaper The Herald said it had received tributes from around the world.

"Casper was a special cat and he had a wonderful life. He will be missed in the Netherlands too," Jelle from Holland wrote.

Reporting by Paul Casciato, Editing by Steve Addison

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