In a grisly case, a man in northern Italy has been accused of adopting black cats from animal shelters to cook them and eat them with friends.
The 55-year-old man from Brianza, identified as Francesco F, is alleged to have eaten 15 cats over a two year period, a report in The Times said.
Activists became suspicious because he always asked for black cats that were three-years-old and had some meat on them.
A volunteer pretending to have a black cat to offer claims she caught him red-handed trying to kill the cat for dinner, the report said.
When she took a photo with her mobile phone, he was surprised she thought he was doing anything wrong.
"What? Is it against the law to kill and eat a cat?" he was quoted as asking.
Lorenzo Croce, the head of the Italian Association for the Defence of Animals and the Environment, says his group files about 20-25 complaints a year against people who eat cats.
He said it is a traditional practice in some parts of northern Italy, although no longer widespread. Each year, he estimated, Italians eat about 500-600 cats.
"We had been watching him for some time because over the Internet and at animal shelters he was asking for three-year-old black cats with some flesh on them," Croce was quoted as saying by the daily.
If found guilty he faces up to a year behind bars.