A New Mexico man is accused of "forcibly" feeding methamphetamine to his pet cat, police said Tuesday.
Aaron Spaulding, 39, was initially arrested in June for allegedly punching his girlfriend repeatedly after "a verbal argument turned physical" and taking her phone away so he could hold her against her will, according to a statement from the Las Cruces Police Department.
Investigators learned that Spaulding was also neglecting his dog and male domestic shorthair cat. They were told that he abused the cat "by squeezing it until it cried out," strangling it and forcibly feeding it meth.
The cat was examined by a veterinarian who discovered that "the cat showed signs of neurological deficits" and "proved positive for methamphetamines" in its system, police said.
Spaulding had been charged in June with false imprisonment, two counts of battery against a household member, interference with communication and two misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty. One of the animal cruelty counts has now been upgraded to a felony after the cat proved positive for drugs, police said.
Spaulding was released on bond on June 24. The cat was treated and "ultimately adopted into a caring home," according to police.