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China truck found loaded with 500 cats believed restaurant-bound

Cat lovers in China's Xuzhou empty pockets to rescue kitties.
Chinese authorities on Thursday stopped a truck carrying 500 cats thought meant for restaurants in the region. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Chinese authorities on Thursday intercepted a truck carrying 500 cats believed meant for popular dishes like "Tiger and Dragon Locked in Battle," which features snake and cat meat, according to Britain's The Telegraph.

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Cat meat is celebrated in southern Chinese cuisine, and high demand has driven up feline value, said the Telegraph.

The animals had been crowded into metal cages and sacks, said Britain's The Daily Mirror, citing local officer Sun Hai.

"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," Hai told the Mirror.

Problem is, you can legally sell cats in China. Therefore, there wasn't a whole lot authorities could do after discovering the poor creatures.

But they did alert local animal rights groups about the situation, said The Telegraph, who bought all the cats for 3,500 yuan (about $560) after having "negotiated for almost three hours," with the truck driver, who clearly had no shame.