In pictures: Men and their moggies
A million more men now own cats in the UK, a survey suggests, but what's life like for a chap and his feline buddy?
Cat ownership in the UK passed eight million in the past year, according to the Pet Food Manufacturers' Association. This includes an extra million men taking on a whiskered pet, such as Andrew and his nine-week-old oriental shorthair, Hector.
Peter took on Millie, who "picked him" from a rescue centre after she was run over and abandoned two years ago and now "won't leave me alone, especially when I lay on the bed, and lays right across my chest".
"Oscar and Luna wake us up in the morning, greet us at the door when we come home, and you dare not go the bathroom without expecting a scratch at the door. They hate to be separated from us when we are in the house," says Paul, "their pet human".
It took months of searching for a pet-friendly place to live, separate flights and thousands of pounds, but Nick and his partner made sure their "two kids", Kinka and Electra, came with them when they moved to the UK from Australia. "They're part of our family and are great for de-stressing," says Nick.
Although developing an allergy to cats in his teens, Ray can put up with "a puff on my inhaler, my leather sofa and armchairs ruined, and my arms and legs scratched" for the attention of Buddy and Holly. "They show unrequited love and affection, meet me by the front door, and sleep on my bed overnight," he says.
“Crawford sits on my shoulder each night, quite happily purring while I watch TV," says Paul. "She's a very happy cat.”
"I'm the only person my cat likes," says Chris. "She's a sweetheart to me - everyone else I know is terrified of her." And his friend Janice agrees. "She really does hate everyone except Chris and literally goes straight for the jugular," she says.
Simon rescued Ginge as a feral kitten in Ireland. "I had to drive him home in a packed car with no pet carrier and then a ferry crossing from County Tipp[erary] in 2006. He has been with me ever since and is great company."
George also shares his home with a cat called Ginge, now eight months old. "I got him when I moved into my first house on my own," says George. "I suffer from depression and it's definitely helped with having him around, I literally couldn't imagine my life without him."
Darren is a registered breeder of birman cats, such as Lucky (left), but has recently taken on two maine coons, Tabitha (C) and Harry (R). Darren says breeding "not only brings a lump to your throat every time one of your girls has kittens but it teaches our children all about life".
"My cat is the best thing in my life, was never allowed a pet as a kid but he's more than a pet to me now," says Dave of BC.