Buffalo, New York, police say officers heard the cat when they stopped 51-year-old Gary Korkuc of Cheektowaga to ticket him for running a stop sign on Sunday night.
They checked the boot and found four-year-old Navarro in a cage, his fur covered with oil, crushed red peppers and chilli peppers.
Police say Korkuc told them he did it because Navarro was ill-tempered. Korkuc was charged with cruelty and released.
Police say he told them he was going to cook Navarro. Korkuc also told officers a number of things that didn’t make sense, including that his neutered male cat was pregnant.
Animal advocates have cleaned Navarro and put him up for adoption.
Asked why he was planning to eat his cat, Korkuc reportedly told police it was because his pet had been “mean” to him.
He also told police and animal shelter workers that he wanted to get rid of the cat because it was “possessive, greedy and wasteful” as well as “mean”.
Shelter staff gave Navarro a couple of baths and described him as “purring away.”
Gina Browning, director of public relations for the SPCA, said: “He was covered in oil, salt, different kinds of pepper, hot peppers. His eyes were watering. Eyes of staff were watering.”
SPCA executive director Barbara Carr said: “I have mixed emotions. I’m delighted that the cat is all right. I’m sad that someone has that problem in their life.”