By Kristina Chew
A 15-year-old ginger cat, Artful Dodger, is more than living up to his name. Last month’s Telegraph reports that Dodger has been taking rides on the bus, after boarding at a bus stop near his home. Sometimes he sits on passengers’ laps; he also likes to sit on seats that have been recently vacated, apparently for their warmth.
Dodger’s owner, Fee Jeanes, says that he initially started to frequent the bus stop as people gave him scraps food. But then the bus itself became the attraction; like greenhouses, they are sunny and warm, says Jeanes in the Telegraph. Dodger has gone on ten mile round-trips. Jeanes says that her daughter’s friends had indeed seem him on the bus that far away:
“I couldn’t believe it and panicked. I got into my car to go off and look for him and then at that moment the bus pulled up near our house and low and behold he got off.
“He had fallen asleep on board and nobody knew about it. When the driver realised he knew who Dodger was and where he lived and kept him on board.
“That afternoon I saw Dodger climb on board another bus and I rushed to tell the driver.
“I was shocked when she told me Dodger was always on there…”
The bus company, First, spoke in welcoming tones about Dodger riding the bus and have only asked the drivers not to feed him, out of concern that Dodger might prefer the bus over home for food and shelter. A company spokesman did say that “in principle we do not have a problem with it being around the bus station,” even adding that
“Given this cat is elderly we suspect it would be eligible for free travel, perhaps a bus puss, if such a thing existed.”
Dodger seems to have made himself quite a fixture on the bus, sometimes even waiting in the middle of the road for the bus to stop.
Pity that more people (at least here in the US) don’t see the benefits of public transportation as much as the Artful Dodger does.