Bart the cat is certain to have a better January in 2016–and a better year, in general.
In January of last year, poor Bart was hit by a car. When owner Ellis Hutson found him, he said he thought the cat was dead, and buried his pet.
Five days later, a neighbor called Hutson to say that Bart had showed up at their home, alive, but in rough shape; he had head trauma, a dead eye, and a broken jaw. Despite his injuries, the determined cat had dug his way out of the grave.
The cat was taken to the Humane Society of Tampa Bay, where treatment, including surgeries and a feeding tube, helped him make a miraculous and full recovery.
Bart was initially supposed to go home with Hutson, but Humane Society of Tampa Bay director Sherry Silk began to have reservations as to the cat’s well-being under his previous owner’s care.
For starters, upon meeting with Hutson and his 2-year-old daughter, Silk became worried at the toddler’s intent on playing with the suffering cat.
Secondly, Silk claims she watched a YouTube video that alluded to neighbors witnessing the cat moving before Hutson put him underground.
A Gofundme page started by Hutson’s neighbor, Dusty Albritton, raised over $7,000 for the treatment of Bart, but at the time of recovery in January 2015, the Humane Society had yet to see a dime. Albritton argued that she didn’t want to supply the money because she felt that the Humane Society’s use of the funds were misleading; Bart’s expenses would be covered, but any left over would go to help the other animals with emergency care, rather than go exclusively to Bart. She thought Silk wanted to turn Bart into a “cash cat,” and feared that Gofundme donators might feel duped. In an interview, Albritton said that she’d reimburse anyone who wanted their money back.
In that same interview, The ABC Action News correspondent Andrew Doud also stated that they’d looked into Hutson’s criminal record, and found that he’d been charged with animal cruelty in 1998. When asked, Hutson said he didn’t recall that charge; he was in federal prison at the time.
Because Silk found Bart’s well-being with Hutson questionable, the Tampa Bay Humane Society decided to seek custody of the cat who “rose from the grave.” Hutson is still fighting to bring Bart back home, and the case remains unsettled.
The good news is, in the meantime, Bart is a healthy, fluffy cat who is happier than ever! This adorable picture was posted this past New Year’s Eve, showing how much the beautiful Bart has improved in a year, and promising a (continued) better life for him in 2016.
Thanks to Bart’s foster family (which include some kitty companions!) and the Humane Society of Tampa Bay for taking such good care of him. He has a proven will to live, and he deserves the happiest, healthiest life possible!