He became a local celebrity two weeks ago, when Southern Marylanders saw his picture in their Sunday morning newspaper.

There he was, swimming in the Patuxent River, his head just poking above the surface. The "bridge cat," as he became known, had just leapt from the Thomas Johnson Bridge that carries Route 4 across the river between St. Mary's County and Solomons Island in Calvert County.

Local fire departments, law enforcement agencies and animal welfare groups had mounted an effort to rescue the cat after he was stranded on a ledge beneath the bridge for more than a day. But he leapt from the ledge to evade his rescuers.

Now he has a new home, a new companion and a new name: Solomon. After being plucked from the river July 13, the cat was taken to the Tri-County Animal Shelter in Hughesville.

He was adopted by a St. Mary's County woman July 21 [See Letters, Page 2]. She took home a second kitten -- whom she named Sasha -- so Solomon would have a playmate.

After the outpouring of community concern over the rescued kitten, officials at the Hughesville shelter, where there are often scores of cats available for adoption, joked last week that they had considered putting on every cage a tag that said "Bridge Cat."

The cat who leapt from a bridge into the Patuxent River two weeks ago has found a new home, with a St. Mary's County woman who adopted him and named him Solomon.