A 47-year-old man has been charged with extorting more than $20,000 from his elderly mother by repeatedly threatening to kidnap her cat and demanding ransom, police said.

Garry Lamar was arrested Friday and released on $200 bail. He has been ordered to stay away from his 78-year-old mother, Mary Lamar Grancher.

He started threatening to kidnap his mother's beloved pet just over a year ago, after she kicked him out of her home for allegedly abusing her, North Kingstown Police Sgt. Daniel Ormond said.

"This isn't just a family cat," Ormond said. "She actually called this cat her companion since she lived alone."

During the past year, Lamar allegedly kidnapped the cat once and made kidnapping threats on a near weekly basis. Ormond said he doesn't believe the cat was harmed, but the investigation continued.

Grancher made at least two dozen payments totaling more than $20,000 in cash and checks to her son. Authorities are still sorting through her financial records to determine the precise amount.

A phone listing for Lamar couldn't be located. Court officials said it was unclear whether he had an attorney.