Firefighters were called to the home around 4p.m. Monday. Investigators say the fire appears to have been started with gasoline on the back porch, and quickly spread to the rest of the home.
Nobody was injured, and the fire was brought under control within an hour.
Police said the homeowner's nephew, Danny Davis, 32, who is homeless, was found nearby as the house burned.
Davis was "playing baseball" with the heads of multiple cats that had been decapitated.
Davis is being held at the Madison County Jail.