Police have found the owner of a Herndon home where the rotting remains of 20 to 30 cats were discovered on Tuesday. The woman was not home at the time and it appeared the house had not been lived in for awhile.

“We continue to speak with her and investigate other aspects of the case,” said Lucy Caldwell, a Fairfax County Police spokeswoman. At this time, Caldwell said no charges have been filed in the case.

Police would not say where the woman was or discuss the case’s central mystery: Why the cats were apparently left to die in the home.

Animal control officers in white hazmat suits and respirators spent Tuesday night cleaning up the carcasses at the single-family home in the 1300 block of Summerfield Drive, Caldwell said. Television footage from the scene showed officers removing large, black plastic bags from the front door of the home.

“We’re not classifying this as an animal hoarding situation because we don’t know the full story,” Caldwell said Wednesday. “The owner could be sick — we don’t know. We’re working to find her.”

Police are not releasing the homeowner’s name because she has not been charged. They described her as a 50-year-old woman.

Caldwell said animal control officers chased two dogs into the backyard of the home Tuesday afternoon. One of the animal control officers looked in the window of the home and noticed what appeared to be a dead cat. Fairfax County and Herndon police were called and a search warrant was obtained for the house.

Caldwell said police found the house in such disarray that it “was not fit for anyone to live in.” A terrible odor came from inside, and carcasses were found in various states of decomposition. Cat feces was scattered around the home.

Caldwell said neighbors had been concerned about the situation at the house and had noticed the smell. The Herndon zoning board has condemned the home.