The appearance Thursday of a severely burned cat at the Best Friends Animal Hospital was enough to bring several staff members to tears.
The orange, year-old feline, named Meshach by clinic staffers, was found in Eagle Point at about 4 p.m. Thursday.
Meshach, named after a biblical character thrown into a fire, was brought to the veterinary clinic for severe burns on his face and beneath his tail, his fur blackened in several spots and his eyes swollen almost shut.
Those who have examined the injuries don't think they were from a house fire. The pads on Meshach's paws were untouched, and he had no respiratory issues, making it appear the attack was intentional.
"Some kind of a flammable liquid got on him and then ignited," said Lori Slate, Best Friends manager.
The injured cat showed up on the porch of Eagle Point resident Michael Finn. It was a stray Finn described as very affectionate that had been coming and going for several weeks.
"It was the sweetest cat. It was just horrifying to think someone could do something like that," Finn said.
Finn's wife, Summer, called Jackson County Animal Control, which picked Meshach up and transported him to Best Friends.
"We were crying, pretty much. We gathered around him," Slate said. "We all just sort of started talking, 'How could this happen?' "
The veterinarians cleaned Meshach's wounds, spread ointment on his swollen eyes and gave him pain medication and antibiotics.
After resting and eating, Meshach has responded to the treatments.
"He eats like a horse," said veterinarian Margarita Garcia, adding that Meshach can now clean himself and hold his head up.
He has a good chance at survival, Garcia said. "Right now I think he's fine."
Meshach is the second animal to be named by Best Friends staff after a biblical character tossed into a furnace who survived. Shadrach, a mixed-breed dog that was blinded by a wildfire last year, also was treated there. Shadrach was later adopted.
Veterinary staffers are hopeful a similarly happy ending is in sight for Meshach. They believe they already have found a place for him.
Until then, they said, he just needs to keep healing.
Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or by email at email@example.com.