Casper, the commuting cat who was killed by a hit-and-run driver last week will live on in a childrens’ book.
Casper became an international phenomenon last year after reports that he regularly caught the No 3 bus from his home in Plymouth for the 11-mile (18km) round trip — and had been doing so for several years. The 12-year-old black and white cat queued up with other commuters and, if there was a spare seat on the bus, would curl up and fall asleep Bus drivers were alert to wake him for his stop.
When Casper was killed last week, his owner, Sue Finden, received sympathy cards from as far as Argentina, Italy, Australia and Indonesia.
Caspers story caught the attention of publishers Simon and Schuster, which intends to publish a book telling his life story.
Nigel Stoneman, one of the firms commissioning editors, said that the book would be aimed at adults and children, and will be due for a Fall release.
If the first book is successful the story will be turned into a childrens book next year. Mr Stoneman said that he had been touched by Caspers tale since hearing of his adventures last year. It is amazing and very heartwarming, he said. It is a lovely story, especially with all the doom and gloom at the moment.
The story is so fantastic and it will be beautifully told, bringing in all the people who were critical along Caspers path. It is amazing how a local story can strike a chord with people all over the world.
Mrs Finden adopted Casper from a cat rescue shelter in 2002. She called him after the cartoon character Casper the Friendly Ghost because of his habit of wandering off.
She said: It is incredible there has been this level of interest in Casper but it is wonderful. It is just sad that I had to lose him for it to really take off.
Mrs Finden insists that she does not want to profit from her pets death and will donate any book proceeds to charity.
A giant photograph of Casper and Mrs Finden has been put on the side of one of bus company Firsts buses in Plymouth.
Mrs Finden added, I want to send my deepest thanks to everyone who has got in touch. We have been really touched by all the letters and cards we have received from strangers.
We wont ever be able to bring Casper back, and I still find it hard that he has gone, but it is lovely to think he will go on in memories and that, with this book, his story will live on for ever.
I cannot wait to see it and, at the end of it all, the money the book makes will help other unfortunate creatures like Casper.