A truck filled with 500 cats, thought to be on their way to a number of restaurants, has been intercepted in Xuzhou, eastern China's Jiangsu Province.
Officer Sun Hai said he and a colleague pulled the vehicle over during a routine check-up.
He told Rex Features: "The driver said it was a full load of rabbit, but after we instructed him to uncover the load we were shocked to find a full load of living cats".
The animals were crammed together in cages, while some were also tied up in burlap sacks.
Officers informed volunteers from a local animal protection centre who quickly arrived on the scene.
They cut open the bags with keys and knives in case the cats died of suffocation and also bought water and food.
Seven hours later the owner of the load arrived but refused to reveal where the cats had come from. After bargaining for three hours, the owner agreed to sell the cats to the animal rescue volunteers for 3500 Yuan (£350).
The cats now have been transferred to an animal rescue center at Tangzhang County.
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