Authorities in Waynesboro, Virginia confirmed reports of a series of cat shavings that have garnered attention from national press outlets.
At least seven cats in the small community (population 21,000) have been taken from their homes since December 2016 and returned with shaven "underbelly, groin and leg areas", but otherwise are unharmed.
Local Police Capt. Kelly Walker said that the affected animals were "wearing collars and are well-groomed", indicating that they were household pets and not strays.
However, he emphasized, the cats were always returned promptly, and were not hurt by whoever took them.
"The shaving appears to be almost surgical," he said.
Residents put up flyers in the area warning others about the incidents, and encouraging them to contact authorities if they had more information. A Facebook page promoting the city posted the flyer and commented: "Our world grows stranger and stranger, with each passing day."
We contacted police seeking comment. They have yet to respond.