WHY not spend this Valentine’s Day helping a four-legged friend find love?

Sometimes Valentine’s Day isn’t about celebrating romance but giving love to those who need it

Animal charities in Sussex are asking people to open their hearts and homes for lonely pets.

According to Cats Protection, more than 1,000 kittens and cats are taken in there in the week leading up to Valentine’s Day for reasons including relationship break-up, money problems, house moves and abandonment.

The charity has also released research which claims that cat-loving men have better chances of attracting the ladies.

A spokeswoman for the charity’s centre in Chelwood Gate, said: “The research found that six in ten 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 per cent of women think cat-owning men are soppy.

“Women think cat-loving men possess many qualities they find attractive when looking for love.

“There are also other benefits to adopting cats as they are stress-busters, and they make older people feel younger.”

Tracey Rae, rehoming manager at Dogs Trust Shoreham, said she is hoping the dogs at the centre can find someone special this Valentine’s Day.

She said: “All of our dogs have so much love to give and would make fantastic pets in the right homes.

“We’ll be giving them lots of fuss and cuddles to make them feel extra loved this Valentine’s Day but we’d love nothing more than for Cupid to work his magic to help all our big-hearted hounds find the loving homes they deserve. If you think you can open up your home and your hearts to one of our beloved dogs this Valentine’s Day, please get in touch.”

Love can come in different forms and a charity in Haywards Heath is hoping someone will be a Valentine for their donkeys. Wendy Ahl, from Safe Haven For Donkeys, said: “We have 250 donkeys at our sanctuary in Israel and our supporters can sponsor any of them.

“Sometimes people will call us and say they have found a stray donkey or an owner will call saying he or she can’t keep a donkey any more.

“Even the local council, police or the Israeli army will contact us saying they have come across a stray donkey or a donkey that is being abused and can we take it to the sanctuary.

“Our team have even got up in the morning to find a donkey tied up to the sanctuary gates. The donkey stays in Israel so it is not a ‘physical adoption’ but rather a sponsorship. However some sponsors have brought their donkey back home with them in the UK.

“People absolutely love donkeys. They have such gentle, kind faces and they are a joy to be around. They also love people. Of course donkeys are super-cute, who wouldn’t want a donkey for Valentine’s Day?

“Just the food for one donkey will cost about £15 to £20 a week before you start getting into medication, farm rental where our sanctuary is situated and we receive no government funding.

To give a dog a new home, go to dogstrust.org.uk. If you want to get more information on how to adopt a cat, go to cats.org.uk. For more information on Safe Haven For Donkeys, go to safehaven4donkeys.org.

The Argus:

Gentle Mike has a lot of love to give.

This eight-year-old is a big softy who loves to cuddle up to a toy when he goes to bed.

Mike would suit a quiet lifestyle where he can relax to his heart’s content.

He would like a multi-person home with minimal visitors and no visiting children so he can build a strong bond with his new house mates.

Mike could possibly live with a calm and friendly dog.

The Argus:

Freddie, ten, is a gorgeous ginger cat who loves to watch what is going on outside his pen.

He is looking for a forever home. Freddie was a little shy when he first arrived at the centre but every day he is growing in confidence and even enjoys a little fuss now and then.

The staff think he is suitable for a quiet home with a patient and understanding owner.

Freddie prefers a garden where he can explore.

He is just waiting for a place to call his own, with a sofa he can curl up on in the evenings.

The Argus:

Ace the two-year-old lurcher is a friendly boy with lots of energy.

This charismatic chap is fun to be around and will keep you thoroughly entertained with his puppy-like ways.

His loves playing with toys or other dogs, lapping up affection from his favourite people and filling his belly with lots of tasty goodies.

Ace is a bouncy boy who loves to play, but his lack of co-ordination can often mean other dogs may not enjoy his play-style.

The Argus:

Rissa, 13, is sweet, gentle, kind-hearted older lady whose favourite past times are relaxing, snoozing, eating and pottering about in the garden.

The lab-cross is on the lookout for her retirement home.

Due to mobility issues, Rissa can’t climb stairs or steps, so it is essential that she lives in a bungalow. She will also need a flat-surfaced garden of her own to mooch about and sunbathe in.

Rissa cannot live with cats but could potentially live with another dog of a similar age and equally calm nature. She could also share her home with teenagers over the age of 16.

The Argus:

Meet Valentine the donkey who is 12. He was born at the donkey sanctuary on February 23, 2007.

His mother Carla was heavily pregnant when she was rescued as a stray on Valentine’s Day.

He is a very friendly donkey – as they often are. He is one of these lucky few donkeys who had never been overworked or abandoned.

Wendy Ahl, who works at Safe Haven For Donkeys, said donkeys are very loyal.

She said: “One of our employees, Isaac, returned to the sanctuary after being overseas for some years.

“He called to see his favourite donkey who he hadn’t seen for years and the donkey rushed out of the herd and put his head on Isaac’s shoulder.”

The Argus:

Four-year-old Chloe needs a home with lots of outdoor space and would thrive at a busy stable yard.

She is an adorable black and white cat who is inquisitive and loves following people around.

Her favourite pastimes are chasing toys and exploring empty boxes.

Chloe is looking for an adult home as she is not a fan of children.

She wants a home that is in a low density cat area.

Chloe is also looking for a rural home with free access at all times, preferably with an outbuilding to help her settle in.

The Argus:

George is a handsome ginger cat who can be can be very affectionate.

The five-year-old will happily sit and watch the world go by – but he can also be quite energetic.

Staff say a farm or smallholding with somewhere warm and dry for him to sleep would suit George perfectly so he can burn of some of his energy.

The Argus:

Beatrice is a sweet cat who is very affectionate.

She enjoys attention and chasing her favourite toys around her pen.

The 12-year-old tortoiseshell also dribbles a little when happy to show her appreciation.

Beatrice is looking for a new home where she is the only pet. She may be able to live with children pending meeting them at the centre first.

She wants to have her own space outside where she can sunbathe.