GROWING numbers of cats are developing neuroses in response to stress, according to Alan Parker, a US veterinary scientist at the University of Illinois. Tensions in the home, he says, can lead to feline hyperaesthesia syndrome (FHS), in which the cat engages in violent or self-destructive behaviour, such as chewing hair off its body, biting itself or attacking its owner.

Fortunately, the condition can be treated with anti-depressants, says a report in New Scientist. More discipline and more affection may also help.