I know, I know. This kitty should not be wandering outside on his own. At least that’s the rule in America.
But the Brits have a different rule. Many shelters in the U.K. won’t even let you adopt a cat if she’s going to be locked up indoors. They consider it inhumane. And so to the story of Dodger.
In Dorset, England, this 15-year-old feline shows up regularly at the bus station, sits under the shelter until his favorite bus arrives (the one that makes the round trip from Bridport to Charmouth), waits for the door to open, and hops aboard.
The bus drivers know Dodger, and keep cans of food ready so he can have a treat along the way. And they make sure to let him off at the right stop on the return journey.
Dodger’s person, Fee Jeanes, says Dodger showed up at her home soon after she moved to Bridport a year and a half ago.
“Our house backs on to the bus station,” she said. “He is an old boy and is very friendly.”
In an interview with the London Daily Mail, she explained:
He started climbing on board the buses because they are almost like greenhouses when it is sunny.
Then last week … I hadn’t seen him all morning until my daughter Emily told me one of her friends had just seen him on the bus at Charmouth.
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 lo and behold he got off.
He had fallen asleep on board and the driver 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 and liked to sit on the seats because they are warm from where people have been sitting.
The drivers buy cat food for him and he sits on people’s laps.
The bus company said they don’t mind Dodger getting a free ride but they don’t actively encourage it. And they’ve asked the drivers not to feed Dodger, so that he understands is that home is where the food is.
“Given this cat is elderly,” said a company spokesperson, “we suspect it would be eligible for free travel, perhaps a bus puss, if such a thing existed.”
And yes, it can be dangerous for cats to be wandering around the streets and bus stations. At another small English town, Plymouth (yes, where the Mayflower set sail), another bus-hopping cat, called Casper, was hit by a car last year while crossing the road to board the Number 3.
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What do you say? Is it more important for a cat like Dodger, who’s been something of an alley cat, to enjoy his life as a traveler or to be kept safely confined at home? Let us know in a comment or on Facebook.