A hiker and her cat have been found in good shape after being missing for almost a month in a remote New Mexico forest.

Authorities said that 41-year-old Margaret Page, who had a sleeping bag for warmth and a nearby creek for water but had started off with only a bag of pretzels for food, had lost 20 to 25 pounds and was badly emaciated. However, her cat Miya was doing just fine.

"Her cat was in better shape than she was," New Mexico State Police Search and Rescue incident commander Marc Levesque said. "Her cat was also hunting. (Page) ran out of food a while back."

Page is an experienced back-packer but has a history of mental illness. It appears that she left the trail deliberately and set up camp, and it is not clear why she failed to return.

Family members reported her missing on February 14, just a few days after she vanished, but the Forest Service and state police were slow to respond. Her car was even towed away rather than being used to give search dogs a scent to follow.

"It looks to me like somebody dropped the ball on this one," a member of the Search and Rescue team that found Page told a local paper.

This video is from the Associated Press, March 9, 2012.