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Alfie and Woody

Toby and Tilley

Toby arrived in our lives by pure accident, my wife owns a couple of horses and the local farm cat decided to leave her kittens under our straw pallet. A precarious start but after careful consideration we decided to take Toby and his sister Tilley into our family. Adorable, for the first 12 months at least.

Sadly, Toby started to present some very distressing behaviour chasing and biting his own tail in a very agitated manner which escalated into him drawing blood howling in pain and fear as he did so. This behaviour was very frightening and distressing for my wife and I and terrified his sister Tilley. We consulted our vet who confessed she had never seen a cat self-harm but recommended we speak to Behavioural Referrals Veterinary Practice.

The situation had become desperate and we were at our wits end, from the very first conversation with Sarah Heath things started to get better, while at first she could not be totally sure of Toby's issues from my initial descriptions she was able to help me not make matters worse. When Toby was having an episode I would try to distract him with play which turns out to be the worst thing I could have done as it increased his excited state and made matters worse.

The phone consultation with Sarah Heath required us to provide detailed descriptions and records of his behaviour; in addition, I was able to make a video recording for Sarah to view. A condition called hyperaesthesia was diagnosed and Toby was prescribed medication to help him with his condition. Patience was the key and it took about three months for the medication to become totally effective. Toby has returned to his mischievous fun loving self and is best friends with his sister, although he still insists on having the top bunk!