Some 170 cats were found in filthy conditions in a house in Takasaki, eastern Japan, this summer after being left uncared for following the hospitalization of the elderly owner, according to a local animal welfare organization.

Many of the cats were emaciated, they said, adding the windows of the house were closed and that the smell of ammonia from excrement was overpowering when members entered the house in early September.

Photo taken Oct. 13, 2022, shows the inside of a house in Takasaki, eastern Japan, where some 170 cats were abandoned. (Kyodo)

The organization, Gunma Wan Nyan Network, was alerted by a relative of the man on Sept. 7 to the plight of the cats, who had to survive without any water despite the hot summer weather.

According to the group, the owner, a man in his 60s, had been in poor health since early August. He remains in hospital after being admitted more than a month ago.

When group members visited his house, they also found some newborn kittens with injuries.

The members took more than half of the cats away for protection, and will spay or neuter them in groups. They are also looking for people or organizations that can take in some of the animals.

The owner is recovering, and the animal welfare group will take care of the cats on a volunteer basis until he is discharged from the hospital and can look after the cats again.

Yukiko Iida, the Gunma group's president, said, "It is difficult (for the group) to cover all the expenses for the surgeries, which cost more than 10,000 yen ($67) per cat."

Details about how to make donation is on the group's website; (