A Shady Cove teenager was arrested Friday for setting a cat on fire in December.

A Shady Cove teenager was arrested Friday for setting a cat on fire in December.

The 17-year-old male, who is being held in the Jackson County Juvenile Community Justice Building, was not identified.

The boy was arrested at 12:50 p.m. Friday without incident and cited for first-degree aggravated animal abuse, a class-C felony, police said in a news release.

Officials wouldn't comment on how they tracked down the suspect because the case is still under investigation. Police said the suspect may not have acted alone.

"There could be other people involved," said sheriff's office spokeswoman Andrea Carlson. "At this point it's definitely a possibility we're looking into."

A $5,000 reward had been offered for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of parties responsible for the cat attack. The reward fund came from Sanctuary One Animal Shelter and the Humane Society.

The arrest stemmed from an incident late last year in Eagle Point. Residents Michael and Summer Finn had been feeding a stray cat that kept showing up on their front porch. On Dec. 22, the cat showed up with severe burns on his face and under his tail.

Police suspected the fire had been set intentionally with a liquid accelerant because the paws were not burned and the cat had no respiratory issues that are common when an animal is caught in a structure fire.

The Finns transported the cat to Jackson County Animal Control officials, who transported it to the Best Friends Animal Hospital in Talent. Workers at the hospital named the cat Meshach after they treated its wounds.

Meshach was later transported to the Sanctuary One Animal Shelter, where workers say he is thriving.

"He's doing great," said Sansa Collins, Sanctuary One animal care manager. "He's just an angel. He climbs up on our shoulders and rides around like he's a parrot."

Collins added she's surprised at how affectionate Meshach is, considering the trauma he experienced.

"It's really a testament of animals' ability to live in the moment," she said.

Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or by email at rpfeil@mailtribune.com.