It was a classic case of clinical depression.

The patient would not go out for fear of being bullied, moped around the house and sought comfort in eating.

Eventually there was nothing for it. Twiglet the cat had to be put on Prozac.

The 12-year-old grey tabby, whose weight had ballooned to 15lb, became one of the first pets in Britain to be given anti-depressant drugs, on the advice of a vet who said she had 'anger management issues'.

And the results have been dramatic. Five months later, Twiglet has lost almost 7lb and is roaming around the back garden without fear.

"She became just like any depressed person," said owner Jackie Martin, 28, an office administrator from Brighton.

"She became so frightened she rarely ventured out and put on weight because she wasn't getting any exercise.

"I had to take out the cat flap and fit a bigger pet door because she couldn't squeeze through it any more."

The problems began last March when Twiglet came home with a broken tail and clumps of fur missing.

A ginger tom had chased her and even jumped through the cat flap to attack her in her own kitchen.

"When I took her to the vet I was told she had anxiety issues and depression brought on by the stress of being bullied by other cats," said Miss Martin.

Twiglet was prescribed the Prozac-like drug amitriptyline, to be taken once a day.

The vet also put her on a strict diet and Miss Martin sent a a note to her neighbours asking them not to feed her pet.

Despite her weight loss, however, what has cheered up Twiglet the most is that the ginger tom and its owner have moved away.