A mischief-making cat called Pickle used up one of his nine lives when he chewed through a Christmas lights cable.
Pickle suffered an electric shock and gave out a yelp of pain – but other than being mildly embarrassed he appeared to have survived totally unscathed.
But his owners Leigh Downes and their partner Max – who gave him his name because he is always getting in a pickle – were still concerned.
So they got in touch with our innovative Video Vets Now service to get an on-camera consultation with one of our experts.
And after a couple of minutes of being uncharacteristically camera-shy, ginger tom cat Pickle was eventually persuaded to join the video call.
Leigh and Max coaxed Pickle into opening his jaws wide so that our vet Raquel Amils-Arnal could see inside his mouth.
Raquel was concerned the electric shock could have left two-year-old Pickle with burns inside his mouth which could become badly infected.
And having done a lot of Google searches, Leigh and Max were naturally anxious about that as well.
But with Raquel on camera thoroughly talking through with Leigh and Max what symptoms to look for it wasn’t long before Pickle got the all-clear.
“We were so relieved,” said Leigh. “As far as we could tell there was nothing wrong with Pickle – but we just couldn’t be sure.
“So the Video Vets Now consultation was absolutely ideal – it meant we got the help and reassurance we needed without Pickle having to go in his cat carrier – which he hates – and without us having to leave the house – which was particularly helpful for us as Max is disabled.
“One of the reasons why we were especially keen to have the consultation was that cats are often very good at hiding pain.
“Raquel was really kind and very thorough, making sure that there was definitely nothing at all for us to be worried about.”
Pickle is a mini-celebrity in the Sheffield neighbourhood where Leigh and Max live, frequently strolling into people’s houses for a look around.
But when he chewed through the lights cord this time last year his wandering days could very easily have come to an end.
“Luckily the lights were quite low-voltage,” said Leigh. “But it obviously could have been very serious.
“The lights started flickering for no obvious reason – then we saw Pickle jump in the air and he gave a yelp.
“And then the lights went off and we realised what had happened.
“The funny thing is that until that point he’d taken no interest whatsoever in the Christmas tree – which was a surprise because we assumed he would be running at it and trying to knock the decorations off.
“This year we’ll be putting the lights safely out of his reach higher up the tree, and with the tree right next to the plug so there’s no spare cable for him to chew.
“He’s always having scrapes of one sort or another – he’s that kind of larger-than-life cat.
“When he was a little kitten he always had a bruise on his nose from where he’d be sprinting round the house and not be able to stop in time when he got to a wall.
“He was actually rescued by one of our friends when he was really tiny from a home where he just wasn’t wanted and then we adopted him – and I think that makes the bond we feel with him even stronger.”
Raquel said: “I remember Pickle – partly because of his name and partly because it was Christmas tree lights he’d decided to have a chew of.
“He wasn’t too keen to come on camera to start with but we soon got over that and Leigh and Max did absolutely the right thing getting in touch.
“When your pet has had a scrape like this even when there is nothing obviously wrong it’s always worth seeking advice.
“I’m just glad we were able to help – and I very much hope Pickle has a slightly less eventful December this year!”