All Shahid Naqvi wanted was to give an abandoned cat a loving home.  But the cat police had other ideas...

Don't get me wrong, I've got nothing against cats. We had one when I was a kid and in adulthood I've owned two of the critters. I once spent hundreds and hundreds of pounds on vet fees trying to save the life of one of them after it got a kidney infection.

Hell, I'll even tolerate them licking parts of their body humans can't reach and then try to snuggle up against your leg afterwards.

But if it came to a choice between a dog and a cat, I'd take man's best friend any day. Dogs give a lot more back than cats. They give love, loyalty and affection - things that don't generally feature in cat vocabulary.

Our canine friends are, of course, also a lot more demanding of their owners. Hence, the enduring impact of the Dog Trust's 1978 "a dog is for life, not just for Christmas" message.

The start of this New Year saw the launch of a new push - the Pedigree Adopt a Dog Campaign - aimed at finding homes for thousands of abandoned dogs.

I'd love a dog. My nine-year-old son would love a dog. But we can't have one because I work full-time and there'd be no one around during the day to look after it.

So, instead, we're doing the responsible thing and adopting a dog from the Dog Trust. In exchange for a monthly fee, it means we can go and visit our adopted pet and look him up on the internet.

But you'd think there'd be nothing stopping us getting a cat. They're independent creatures. Quite happy to be left alone to sleep for a few hours as long as they're fed and have a cat litter tray or cat flap to hand.

Though obviously not quite as good as a dog, a cat would have helped bring a little happiness to my home.

So imagine my disgust recently when I was told by a cat rescue sanctuary which shall remain anonymous that my house was not good enough for one of their lost

moggies. I live in a nice house in a nice area. I've got a fair-sized garden. I like to think of myself as a responsible citizen and decent enough human being. I've even got a good track record in looking after cats, as my bank-breaking vet bills testify.

But apparently I don't cut the mustard when it comes to the privilege of paying £40 to take one of the cat rescue people's wretched castaways off their hands.

The reason they gave was that the family-orientated street I live on - a street where many small children reside, mind - is too busy for cats!

This decision was reached after one of the cat charity workers came round to my house in their catmobile to interview me about my cat credentials.

I thought this intrusion into my home was just a formality to be tolerated and make sure I didn't have a pile of rotten cat carcases in my shed. Obviously not.

When I questioned the decision (I live on a small one-way street where vehicles have little chance of gathering any speed) another catwoman was sent round to stake out my home for a second opinion.

She came to the same decision.

Quite frankly, I'm outraged and it all just goes to underline everything I've ever said about cat people.

For, in my opinion, anyone who invests that much love and affection in creatures that expect so little back is essentially a flawed human being.

They're the kind of people who don't really like other people, probably because they've never bothered to invest much time and effort in the far more complicated but infinitely more rewarding sphere of human relationships. Your average passionate-about-cats person probably lives on their own, is mistrustful of other humans and quite possibly smells of wee.

As already stated, I'm a liker of cats, not a lover - and never at the expense of people. If owning a cat can brings pleasure to me and my loved ones, then I see no reason why not to let me have one, given that I've not been identified as a cat abuser.

And if I'm prepared to depart with cash to take a cat off the hands of a strapped-for-cash charity, they should be pleased. If, God forbid, my little fur ball ended up splattered under a bus, well at least it would have had a good life, for a while. And as we all know, any one of us could get run over by a bus tomorrow. What makes cats so special?

So, my New Year message to all you cat lovers out there is to get a life. Stop holing yourself up with your furry companions and take a walk down down the street and talk to a neighbour.

You might find doors opening to a world that is far more rewarding and meaningful.

As for me, I'll still get myself a cat, with or without the help of the cat rescue militants.

So, if anyone out there's got one in need of a good home, please get in touch.