TAMPA, Fla.—

When Ellis Hutson found his cat Bart in the middle of the road after being hit by a car, he was devastated.

“I couldn’t stand to bury the cat,” Hutson said. “I cried, I was devastated. I couldn’t even bury him. I had to have a friend do it.” He asked his neighbor to dig 1 1/2 year old Bart a shallow grave alongside the road.

Five days later, Bart showed up at another neighbor’s house, meowing for food. He had apparently come back to life and dug himself out of his grave. The neighbor, Dusty Albritton was stunned. “At first it blew me away,” Albritton said. “All I knew was this cat was dead and ‘Pet Sematary [sic]’ is real.”

“There he [was], just purring and looking up at me,” Albritton added. “All dirty. This cat is dead. I know he was dead.”

Hutson also swears the cat was dead. “It was absolutely dead,” he said. “The cat was cold. The cat was stiff, no movement, nothing. The cat was 100 percent dead.”

When Albritton brought the cat back to Hutson’s house, he “couldn’t believe it. She was standing there with Bart. I said Miss Dusty, Bart is dead. Here’s the cat right here!”

Hutson finally realized the stunning truth: his cat had returned to life. “I can’t explain it. So miracles happen . . . Miracles do happen,” he exclaimed.

“It had to have been touched by the Lord or something. I can’t explain it. The cat was buried. The cat was dead, and my neighbor brought it back to my house,” Hutson said.

The cat does have recovery to undergo; it had a surgery to remove an eye, wire its jaw shut, and insert a feeding tube. Bart is expected to make a complete recovery within about six weeks.

Humane Society executive director Sherry Silk said the organization’s Save-A-Pet Medical Fund will help Hutson cover Bart’s medical costs, which total over $1,000.

“The guy genuinely, believe me, cares about this cat,” Silk said. “He’s a well-meaning guy.”

“[Bart’s] purring, even with all these injuries,” Silk said. “I can’t even imagine how awful he must have felt. He’s just a really wonderful, patient, loving cat.”

“It’s a miracle. All I can think is, ‘it’s a miracle.’ It just wasn’t time for the cat to go,” Hutson added.

Besides writing, R. McKinley loves reading (especially historical fiction and science books), playing piano and flute, being involved in politics and community, working out, enjoying nature, and hanging out with four wonderful cats.