In the past 24 hours, I have been forwarded over a dozen links to articles about the Zombie Cat in Tampa Bay, Florida. It’s a weird story, to be sure, but not something I planned on posting on this blog since it was really just a commentary on what some animals will do to stay alive.
If you haven’t seen the story yet, Bart the cat was recently hit by a car and by all accounts, it was a really bad accident. In fact, when Bart’s owner, Ellis Hudson, came home and found the cat, still lying in the road, he thought Bart was dead. Hudson was so distraught that he couldn’t even bring himself to bury Bart, so a neighbor volunteered to do it.
Five days later, a still-bloodied Bart showed up on a neighbor’s doorstep. Apparently, Bart had been in a coma-like state that had slowed his breathing to the point that his emotional owner (and neighbor, apparently) didn’t notice the cat was still alive. So they, in effect, buried the cat alive. Somehow, Bart managed to dig himself out of his grave and make it back home.
It’s a rather heart-warming story, in a twisted sort of way. But as I said, I wasn’t planning on writing anything about it. Of course, all that changed the second Columbus’ ABC-6 showed up.
On ABC’s Good Day Columbus this morning, reporter Pete Scalia felt the need to scare the s**t out of his audience (and reporter Carolyn Bruck, if the screen grab below is any indication) by introducing the piece and saying that when the cat was found by neighbors, it “had already died.”
Bruck quickly recovered, though, and added “vets pronounced Bart, the black and white cat, dead after being hit by a car.”
Now, I can forgive Scalia for leaving out a wiggle word like “apparently”, so as to imply that the cat only appeared to be dead. But seriously, Ms. Bruck, where did these magical vets come from who pronounced Bart DOA? There were no veterinarians involved! The owner came home, thought his cat was dead, and buried it. No veterinarians anywhere. What’s more, Bruck clearly says “vets”, so there’s more than one of these mysterious people involved! Spooooooky!
I checked the ABC-6 site later in the day, hoping that f they ran the story, they would make the necessary corrections. Well, the ran the story, alright, and they even made a few updates:
So see, they did clear up the whole idea that the cat really wasn’t dead by adding “presumed dead” into the article. But look! Now we have a car-on-car homicide taking place! “A car is hit by a car”? And those mysterious “local veterinarians” are still lurking about. But I guess we need to look at the bright side. These guys are still “local”, meaning we have some time to prepare before they start migrating North, randomly pronouncing beloved family pets “dead” along the way.
On the one hand, you could chalk this all up to shoddy (and somewhat lazy) reporting. I, on the other hand, have a different opinion. I think the local weathermen are to blame. Let’s face it: they can’t ever get the weather right, even with all their fancy “models”. So why we would expect them to get a story about a zombie cat right?
Read ABC-6’s error-filled report (unless they update it again) on Bart the cat here. There’s also video of the original Good Morning Columbus segment.
For the real details of Bart the cat, go here.
The Animal Health Center at the Humane Society of Tampa Bay is currently caring for Bart and providing updates on their Facebook page. You can access that page right here.