The 42-year-old woman had been shut away by her mother - who claimed to be 'protecting' her - for more than half of her life, before she turned up at a local council office in Russia asking for a job and an identity document.
Nadezhda Bushuyeva had not seen the outside world since she left school 26 years earlier, except for one trip to a clinic in 2006.
She was fed on cat food and kept inside until her mother, a retired shop assistant called Tatiana, became ill and required hospital treatment.
Then, when officials went around to the house, they discovered dead cats, an infestation of rats, and an area on the floor where the 'involuntary hermit' woman was made to sleep.
She said: "Cats have more rights than I do."
When she re-emerged, Nadezhda had matted hair, and reportedly had not bathed in more than 10 years.
Her mother had thought it too 'dangerous' to let her leave the house, and after leaving school decided to keep her inside and away from the world.
The head of the local council, Vasily Tovarnov, said: "After she left school her mother 'protected' her, keeping her locked up at home."
He added that the woman is 'afraid of the outside world' but wanted to get a job, and a Russian internal passport so that she can claim benefits.
When asked why she never left, the woman reportedly said: "Where would I go?
"Where would I be let out? I don't know anything or anyone. I haven't been anywhere. Since I finished school, I stopped going [anywhere]."
She added: "I eat what I am given - cat food, bread and food that is rotten."
After her 2006 visit to the hospital, she was adjudged to be in sound mental health, as well as her mother.
Larisa Mikhayeva, the head of the social care department of Vachovsky district in the Nizhny Novgorod region, said: "The mother receives a pension and benefits, and groceries, and we repeatedly offered to issue a passport to her daughter Nadezhda, which she refused.
"A social worker often visited them, but they did not let the worker into the house."
The authorities couldn't take action because neither were judged to be mentally ill.
She continued: "We are persuading Nadezhda to change her lifestyle, but she says, 'I don't need this, I love the way I live, everything suits me.'
"It's very difficult to help people when they are healthy according to their documents, and to force them a different perception of life if the person doesn't want to change anything."
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