CICERO (CBS) — It was a scene firefighters and animal control call sickening: More than 50 cats living in a home with a senior citizen, filth everywhere.

Authorities say the home isn’t fit for anyone or anything to live in, CBS 2’s Pamela Jones reports.

The house in the 1800 block of 57th Avenue looks normal from the outside, but the inside revealed a mess beyond belief.

“There was feces throughout the whole house, feces spread about where she’d sleep, feces all over the kitchen,” Mike Benda of Cicero Animal Welfare said. “There was nowhere that you could walk where you weren’t stepping in feces.”

Firefighters say the 61-year-old woman who lived in the home had not paid her water bill for some time. A meter reader called police to check to see if she was OK.

But the filth created a hazard for her and the animals.

“She had food spread around, but there was just so many cats, not everyone eats,” Benda said.

The stench was evident, even from 150 feet away.

“It smells real bad when the sun comes up in the morning, it smells real bad when it rains. And we didn’t know what was going on,” neighbor Ofelia Martinez said.

Some of the cats were dead. Many of the cats removed from the home were in very poor shape.

“It’s pretty bad,” Erika Rosas, director of the Cicero Animal Welfare, said.

After examinations by a veterinarian, some of the cats could be ready to be adopted by the weekend. Click here for information.

Officials on Monday are working to find the woman’s relatives or to place her in temporary care until the house can be cleaned, town spokesman Ray Hanania said.

Deputy Fire Marshall Ron Opalecky said the fire department will clean the property and attempt to recover costs from any insurance that might be available, Hanania said.

Contributing: Sun-Times Media Wire.

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