Police investigating a murder attempt in Japan have one unusual suspect: a stray cat.

Japanese police are investigating the attempted murder of an elderly bedridden woman.

Mayuko Matsumoto, 82, was found bleeding from about 20 cuts to her face at her home in southern Japan.

Her daughter arrived home on Monday to found the bedridden woman covered in her own blood and with multiple cuts to the face, some of them reportedly severe.

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"When we found her, blood covered everything above her chin. Her face was soaked in blood. I didn't know what had happened," Matsumoto's daughter told local media.

The woman was unable to speak and had to receive emergency care.

Police could find no signs of anyone breaking into the house and eventually realised the wounds on her face resembled cat scratches.

One of the neighbourhood's stray cats was eventually found to have human blood on its claws.

"Police are analysing a blood sample taken from the claw of the cat which might have scratched the victim," national broadcaster NHK reported.