A Russian pensioner forced her daughter to live off cat food while caged at her home for 26 years.
Nadezhda Bushueva was kept isolated with her elderly mother in a hovel the pair shared with cats.
Nadezhda had been kept isolated in the home, which had no electricity or running water, since the age of 16 in order to ‘protect her from the dangers of the outside world’.
It was only when her mother was hospitalised that the now 42-year-old left the house in the Arefinsky village in western Russia.
Her mother, Tatyana, had kept her daughter trapped at home when she finished school not allowing her to work or to continue her studies, local council leader Vasily Tovarnov said.
Nadezhda said she became “used to it” and did not try to leave of her own accord.
The pair became increasingly reclusive after Tatyana retired and later rejected help from social services and other officials.
When Tatyana fell ill, Nadezhda went to Tovarnov’s office where her shocking ordeal was revealed.
She confided to officials that their house was full of rats and cats and the two women slept in the same bed.
My life is worse than a cat’s life. Cats have more rights. I don’t even exist anymore. I’m the living dead.
When the cats died, they reportedly did not move the decomposing bodies.
According to local media, the 42-year-old also admitted that she had not bathed since 2006.
In photos her hair is seen in a large tangled clump at the back of her head.
She explained: “My life is worse than a cat’s life. Cats have more rights. I don’t even exist anymore. I’m the living dead.”
She added: “I need a workplace, I need a passport.”
Tovarnov said: “Nadezhda came to my office by herself. We wanted to feed her, we prepared her sandwiches, but she didn’t eat anything. But she is not insane.”
According to local media reports, the daughter is unsure how the outside world works and she has been unable to travel to the hospital with her mother when she was hospitalised.
It is unclear why the elderly woman was hospitalised, though some speculate it may have been a stroke.
Many have commented on how young the now 42 year-old looks after living in such appalling conditions.
Sveta Yarosheva said: “She has such a beautiful face, I feel sorry for her.”
And Nikita Pavlov added: “At 42 she still looks young despite the conditions.”