The Bronx man accused of torturing a cat to death by setting it on fire is now claiming the act was carried out in self-defense.

According to The Daily News, Ernesto Bailey told the police that the cat came into his apartment and was scratching him and his children. “I went outside for a smoke and the cat jumped on my head, and as a reflex, I threw it against the wall. I ran the cat over with a shopping cart,” Bailey said.

The suspect was caught on video as he poured fluid on the injured feline. He then used a lighter to set the cat on fire, police said.

Bailey is being charged with aggravated cruelty to animals, torture of an animal, reckless endangerment and arson. He has expressed remorse for being caught, telling the tabloid that it was "stupid" of him to set the cat on fire in front of the building.