IT'S a stressful life being a cat, what with all that basking in the sun, so how better to unwind than with a soothing massage?

Meena Harbham, of Heston, is bringing a touch of US-style pampering to west London's lucky felines (and canines).

But the 31-year-old insists the treatment is about much more than lightening the wallets of over-indulgent owners.

She claims it can help with everything from healing scars, by releasing endorphins, to reducing the effects of arthritis.

It's also the secret to a healthy coat and helping ageing cats maintain their balance, according to Meena.

"Unlike humans, animals can't always let us know they're in pain," she said. "But tossing their heads, stumbling and a poor gait are all signs of muscle tension, which massage can really help reduce."

Having left her job in marketing, she's already got one satisfied customer - her nine-year-old cat, Mr Bear.

Rather than suffering an identity crisis, as you might expect, he's been afflicted by a gammy left hind leg.But the regular massage sessions are already paying off, according to his doting owner.

"I've been giving him massages for about two months now and I've already noticed a difference," she said.

"Pet massage is already popular in the US, where people take their pets a little more seriously than we do over here.

"It's not a new thing; it's been around since Roman and even ancient Egyptian times, when cats were seen as sacred. I've always loved animals and this is my way of giving something back."

Meena plans to raise awareness of its benefits by volunteering at kennels and animal rescue centres, but is also offering private sessions.

For more about feline and canine massage, and to book a session, call Meena on 07956 125 220 or email petmassage@hotmail.co.uk