Stray Cat Finds Permanent Home After Surviving Intentional Burning

Happy Ending: a forever home for Meshach and a $52,000 donation for the sanctuary that fostered him.


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The 17-year-old that burned Mesach has been charged with aggravated animal abuse. (Photo: Sanctuary One)

After nearly being burned alive in Oregon last December, Meshach (pronounced mee-shack), an orange Tabby cat, met several real-life angels who helped him heal and eventually find a loving, permanent home in late March. And, like Daniel the unkillable dog before him, Meshach has also helped to repay the human saviors. 

Late last year, Michael Finn of Eagle Point, Oregon, had been feeding the affectionate homeless kitty for several weeks. But when the orange tabby showed up on Finn’s front porch a few weeks before Christmas, he had severe burns on his face and under his tail. Charred patches of hair covered his body. His eyes were almost swollen shut.
"[He] was the sweetest cat. It was just horrifying to think someone could do something like that," Finn told the Mail Tribune.

Finn’s wife called Jackson County Animal Control, which picked Meshach up and transported him to Best Friends Animal hospital. The staff at the hospital was moved to tears. Meshach didn’t seem to have any respiratory problems, nor were his paw pads burned.

Lori Slate, manager of Best Friends, knew the kitty hadn’t been in a house fire. "Some kind of flammable liquid got on him and ignited,” Slate said. “We were crying, pretty much. We gathered around him. We all just sort of started talking, 'How could this happen?' "

Meanwhile, the Humane Society put up a $2,500 reward for any leads in the investigation.

Thirty five days later, the cat with the fighting spirit was transferred from Best Friends Hospital to Sanctuary One. He wore a protective head collar and still had open sores that needed treatment, but after a month the collar came off.

The kind folks at Sanctuary One named the orange cat Meshach (once again, pronounced mee-shack) after the Biblical figure that was saved from burning to death by divine intervention and faith. 

By January, Sanctuary One had doubled the reward to bring Meshach’s attacker to justice, bringing the bounty to $5,000. It worked. On February 11, police had arrested a 17-year-old male and cited him for aggravated animal abuse, a class-C felony.

In late March, Meshach found a forever home with a 57-year-old woman who read his story in the Mail Tribune. She remains unidentified because the animal abuse case is still pending.

"I cut out Meshach’s picture and put it in my pocket," the kind woman said. "I just fell in love with him. I needed him and he needed me."

Meshach has already asserted his dominance over the family Labradoodle, "who thought she was queen" until the spunky survivor arrived and promptly bopped her in the nose. 

"He's confident and friendly," Meshach’s new mom said. "He's just an amazing spirit."

The good news doesn't end there.

Sanctuary One Director Robert Casserly announced that an anonymous donor, inspired by the story of Meshach and other animals rescued by the sanctuary, has gifted the nonprofit farm with a $52,000 donation.

"This donation is a game-changer for us," Casserly told the Jacksonville Review. "A $500 donation is a big deal for a small nonprofit group like us. So you can imagine how thrilled we are to get a $52,000 check in the mail. This donation will put us on much more secure financial footing, and for that we are eternally grateful. We will put 10 percent of the gift in a rainy-day fund, and use the remainder to heal more people, rescue more animals, and expand our organic gardens."