TAMPA, Fla., Sept. 15 (UPI) -- A cat that dug itself out of its own grave has been officially adopted after a two year legal battle between the Humane Society and the original owner.
The Humane Society Tampa Bay announced Bart the "Zombie Cat," who was hit by a car and prematurely buried, found a permanent home after the organization was able to legally claim ownership of him.
"After 20 months in our care, countless hours of paperwork, and millions of prayers and well-wishes from across the world, we finally have been legally granted ownership of Bart the Miracle Cat to the Humane Society of Tampa Bay!" the society announced in a press release. "But he was only ours for a few hours as his foster family prepared to make his place in their home permanent."
According to the Tampa Bay Times, Bart's original owner, Ellis Hutson, had his neighbor bury the cat after it had been struck by a car.
Five days later, Bart dug himself out of his own grave and reappeared at Hutson's home looking for food.
Hutson contacted the Humane Society's animal hospital where surgery was performed to repair Bart's broken jaw, remove his eye, and nurse him back to strength and health.
The Humane Society revoked Hutson's custody, and he responded with a lawsuit to reclaim the ownership of the family cat.
Following the ruling against Hutson, Humane society marketing coordinator Nash McCutchen said an anonymous long-time staffer will be Bart's new owner.
"This cat had a will to live," McCutchen said. "He was not going down without a fight. It took him months to recover. He was depressed, couldn't eat well and a lot of other animals may have just given up. He didn't."