Nadezhda Bushueva’s mother, Tatyana (a pensioner), forced her daughter to live off cat food while she caged her at her home for 26 years – from the age of 16 to 42. That’s the extraordinary report online today. Nadezhda was kept isolated in a hovel which she shared with cats. The pair lived in the village of Arefinsky in Russia (Google maps can’t find the place!). There was no electricity or running water at their home. Nadezhda had not washed for 14 years we are told. Her hair was deeply matted and filthy (as expected!).
Tatyana kept her daughter confined to the hovel on the pretext that she was protecting her from the dangers of the outside world. Nadezhda became institutionalised and habituated to a life of confinement and accepted it. She did not try and escape. She became reclusive like her mother.
Her mother fell ill and had to go to hospital. By this time Nadezhda had reached the age of 42 and it seems that she decided to live a normal life and to “escape”. She went to the authorities and said that she needed a workplace and a passport. She was offered food but didn’t take it. They declared her completely sane.
She didn’t know how the outside world worked and was unable to travel to the hospital where her mother was being treated. It is believed that her mother had suffered a stroke.
Many people commented on how young this 42-year-old woman looked after being fed on cat food, caged for a large part of her life while living in appalling conditions where rats were commonplace and dead cats lay on the floor.
Comment: I was struck by the observation of the people who had met her after her ordeal, namely that they thought that she looked younger than her age. That’s why I weaved the observation into the title because it’s a peculiar merging of fact and circumstance. Yes, I know it is a clickbait title.
P.S. I am interested in knowing why the photos were taken at the hovel. It seems peculiar. It appears they are set up because why would they agree the photos? I can’t vouch for the veracity of the story. It sounds true but Russia is a bit dodgy when it comes to the truth.