Bart the cat was hit by a car, buried and crawled back from the dead — literally.

Earlier this month, a car hit the one-and-a-half-year-old cat in Tampa, Fla.. Bart's owner was so distraught, he couldn't stand the thought of burying him, so he asked a neighbour to dig a shallow grave.

Five days later, on Jan. 21, a matted and injured Bart emerged, meowing for food.

'This cat was dead'

"At first it blew me away," said Dusty Albritton, the neighbour who buried Bart. "All I knew was this cat was dead and Pet Sematary is real.'

Bart had a broken jaw, a ruptured eye and a torn-up face. He was dehydrated and hungry, but alive.

Zombie cat

The Humane Society of Tampa Bay posted this photo of Bart the cat to their Facebook page. Bart underwent successful surgery Tuesday to repair his jaw and remove his eye. (Humane Society of Tampa Bay/Facebook)

Owner Ellis Hutson didn't know what to do.

"It was unbelievable," he told The Tampa Bay Times. "I've never seen anything like that before."

Hutson got in touch with the Humane Society of Tampa Bay, which through the Save-A-Pet Medical Fund will help cover the costs of Bart's care. On Tuesday, the cat underwent surgery to remove an eye, wire his jaw shut and insert a feeding tube, which cost more than $1,000 US.

The agency's executive director Sherry Silk said Bart should recover in about six weeks and will be going home with Hutson.

"He'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."