A fur-ightening case of a cat lost after a Lyft ride has been closed.
Social media users were captivated after a desperate appeal to the people of Austin, Texas, over the weekend. According to a series of posts from cat owner Palash Pandey and rideshare company Lyft, the situation began on Sept. 30 and spiraled into an all-out investigation.
In a post shared to Reddit, Pandey explained that the incident occurred after he stepped out of his Lyft to take his cat, Tux, to Banfield Pet Hospital for a veterinary appointment.
“I was sitting behind the driver and had the cat carrier on the floor of the passenger side back seat,” Pandey wrote in his post. “Once we reached, I got off from the driver’s side door and started walking to the passenger side door to pick her up. Before I could open the door, the driver started driving.”
Pandey also recounted his entire experience on X, the social media site formerly known as Twitter, where he asked Lyft for help in tracking down the driver and his cat. In his posts, Pandey recalled running after the car and banging on its back and passenger windows as the driver drove off.
“I banged on his windows hoping that he would notice me and just stop. But instead of that he just, like, peeled off, he drove away,” Pandey told NBC News affiliate KXAN. “I don’t know how else you would perceive somebody who you just dropped off running behind you and banging on your windows and doors. I don’t know if there’s a charitable explanation for that.”
Pandey explained that he promptly attempted to contact the driver through Lyft’s app but ultimately maxed out on its message limit. He also shared on X that he contacted 911, which transferred him to 311, which is used for non-emergencies.
Pandey told KXAN that he filed a report with the Austin Police Department. Around three hours later, Pandey said he received a call from the Lyft driver who he says took off with his cat.
“He called me back saying that he doesn’t know where my cat is. He said that he had riders right out after my dropoff, said that he went to pick up people right after he dropped me off,” Pandey said.
On Oct. 1, the rideshare company asked people in Austin to keep an eye out for Tux and to also send any leads to an email it had set up.
Lyft confirmed the incident in a statement to TODAY.com, noting that Tux has been found and that it is now taking a look into its policies to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.
“We’re so happy to report that Tux has been reunited with her owner, and we are focused on ensuring Tux has everything she needs right now, including covering all of her veterinary bills,” Lyft said in its statement to TODAY.com. “We’ll continue to work directly with Palash to provide the support that they both need. We are actively working with all involved to fully understand the situation — to help prevent it from happening again. We’re evaluating our policies to improve support for our community, including in cases like this."
Read on to find out how the whole thing got resolved.
What happened to Tux the cat?
Per Pandey, an investigator reported the cat “ran up a set of stairs on the back of the building next to it. The team was able to get her caught up at the top of the stairs and she was too scared to jump from up there.”
“She looks very tired, is covered in fleas and dehydrated,” Pandey went on to share of Tux’s condition. “She started eating wet food again which is a good sign but I’ll monitor her and take her to the vet as soon as she calms down and stabilizes a bit. I would update again once I hear from the vet.”
What happened to the Lyft driver who Pandey says took Tux?
Lyft did not comment beyond its statement to TODAY.com about the driver involved in the incident. However, Lyft’s CEO, David Risher, referenced the driver in a post shared to his own X account before Tux was found.
“Many have asked about @palashp40616755’s cat Tux. We’ve now alerted @lyft drivers and riders in Austin to be on the lookout for her,” he wrote. “One request: please don’t vilify the driver. He’s received unwarranted threats and is just as distraught as we all are.”
In the comments section of his post, Risher shared that the company had deactivated the driver’s Lyft account for the time being.
“On speaking with him, it’s clear things are somewhat more complicated than they first appear,” he wrote in his post in part. “In the meanwhile, our focus is on finding Tux.”