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French family cat hitches lift home on 800 km trip

A family cat from the Nord (Hauts-de-France) that got lost during a holiday 800 km away has been returned home in a car on lift-sharing app company BlaBlaCar.

The cat, named Caramel, belongs to a family from the Nord town of Villeneuve-d’Ascq. The family had been on a week’s skiing holiday in the Savoie, and on the way home, had stopped overnight to visit relatives in Annecy (Haute-Savoie, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes). Caramel had been with them throughout.

The next morning, the family discovered that Caramel had disappeared. Despite several hours of searching, the cat could not be found, and the family was forced to leave without their beloved pet.

Hours later, Caramel was safely found; but the family was already home, around 800 km away.

A novel solution was suggested: Find a car-sharing space for Caramel in a lift on BlaBlaCar.

BlaBlaCar is a car-sharing app and website that allows drivers with spare seats in their car to offer spaces for other passengers. Passengers must all be going in a similar direction, and share the driver’s car for part or all of their journey.

In a similar way to other apps such as Uber and Lyft, users must first upload a profile of themselves, and usually pay for their journeys via a credit card registered on the app.

The family quickly created a profile for Caramel, and the pet was accepted as a journey-sharing companion by two friends, who were travelling from Annecy to Béthune (Pas-de-Calais).

Béthune is less than an hour’s drive away from Villeneuve-d’Ascq.

William, one of the drivers on the journey, said: “We laughed about it, and we asked ourselves if we were really going to travel with an animal rather than a person. [But] the cat slept all the way. We even stopped for half an hour for a bite to eat, and it didn’t move a hair.”

Later, Marie-Noëlle - the mother of the family - picked Caramel up from a péage booth in Béthune, and confirmed that he had been returned home safely.

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