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'Dead' Florida Cat Claws His Way Back to Life Days Later: Owner

Bart the cat is recovering from facial injuries after he clawed his way out of a shallow grave, according to the Humane Society of Tampa Bay.
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A Florida feline named Bart is being hailed as both a "miracle" and a "zombie" after his owner says he emerged from the grave just days after being buried. The courageous kitty was hit by a car earlier this month and then interred in a shallow grave next to the Tampa street where he was thought to have been killed, said owner Ellis Hutson. "It was absolutely dead. The cat was cold," Hutson told NBC affiliate WFLA on Tuesday. "The cat was stiff, no movement, nothing."

But five days later, on Jan. 21, Hutson's neighbor said she found the 1-1/2-year-old cat dirty and dehydrated, wandering in her yard and meowing. "At first it blew me away," Dusty Albritton told the Tampa Bay Times. "All I knew was this cat was dead and 'Pet Sematary' is real."

Bart, who is believed to have clawed his way out of the grave, stunned his owner when they were reunited. "It had to have been touched by the Lord or something. I can't explain it," Hutson told the station. "The cat was buried. The cat was dead, and my neighbor brought it back to my house."

But Bart suffered a broken jaw and facial injuries during the accident with the car. The Humane Society of Tampa Bay — using its Save-A-Pet Medical Fund — covered the costs for surgery Tuesday, when Bart had an eye removed and his jaw wired shut. Now, Hutson's plucky pet — once catatonic — is purring again, the society says.

Bart's remarkable story has made him a kitty cause celebre on social media, with some referring to him as a "zombie cat." Hutson, however, has a different take on this seemingly tall tale.

"All I can think is it's a miracle," he said. "It just wasn't time for the cat to go."


— Erik Ortiz