Dec 18, 10:04 PM (ET)
LOS ANGELES (AP) - A group of hungry cats began to eat their 86-year-old owner after she suffered an apparent stroke and couldn't get up for nearly a week, officials said Thursday.
Mae Lowrie, who lives with seven cats, was discovered unconscious and riddled with bite marks Wednesday night at her Panorama City apartment, Fire Department and hospital officials said.
She was listed in fair condition at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, said hospital spokeswoman Lisa Kort.
"The cats were trying to survive in the conditions that they were in, faced with the outcome they had. They did what they had to do to survive," animal control Officer Ernesto Poblano told KABC-TV. "The cats were all emaciated, very, very emaciated."
Lowrie may have suffered a stroke, said Jim Wells, spokesman for the Los Angeles Fire Department.
The woman's apartment manager alerted authorities after neighbors realized they hadn't seen Lowrie in several days.
Wells said Lowrie, who was believed to have been stricken about a week before she was found, was also dehydrated.
The cats, apparently without food for that time, also tried to eat Lowrie's small dog, said Jackie David, a spokeswoman for the city Animal Services Department. The terrier showed signs of hypothermic shock, severe dehydration, respiratory illness and was later euthanized, she said. One of the cats, a kitten, was found dead.