Men who want to improve their chances with the ladies should consider palling up with a feline friend to help attract a partner, according to a new survey.

Leading UK feline welfare charity Cats Protection found that women think cat-loving men possess many qualities they find attractive when looking for love.

The research, which was carried out for Valentine's Day, found that six in 10 women across the UK think men who own cats are more caring, making them more appealing as a partner.

And far from being seen as wimpy, cat ownership appears to be a manly quality as just 27% of women think cat-owning men are soppy.

Star of The Vampire Diaries Ian Somerhalder is not short of female admirers and the photograph Ian has donated to Cats Protection to celebrate Valentine's Day perhaps shows why the cute image of him cuddling his cat Moke definitely shows his caring side.

Another TV hunk, BBC Newsround presenter, Ricky Boleto, agrees with the findings, commenting: "If you're short of a date this Valentine's... consider getting a cat. Apart from their many good qualities, the research shows that cats can make a man more attractive to women. Just ask my fiance, whenever she sees me chilling with Bella the cat, she wants to curl up next to me! Bella brings out my soft and loving side. It works every time!"

To celebrate Valentine's Day, Cats Protection has a hotlist of blogs featuring hunks and cats: real men and their cats - cats striking model poses as it says hot guys and kittens

The research also found that:

48% of women think having a cat enhances human relationships

42% of women think men who own cats are more loving and 44% think men who own cats are kinder

Amongst both men and women, the middle-aged (45-54-year-olds) are more likely to see the benefit of cat ownership in a relationship with 50% believing a cat in the house improves relationships.