One Eyed Gandalf.

He was a semi-feral cat; roaming his local neighbourhood streets. Nobody knew if he belonged to a family - or if he had ever belonged to a family. All the locals knew was a scruffy looking young ruffian; who likely never felt the comforting warmth of unconditional love, and the chance to give such a feeling in return. A scared, hungry and tired animal, in need of a better life...

The story of Gandalf the cat was sent to my Facebook page by a lady named "Kickan", who lives in Sweden. It is a perfect example of how a simple act of love, can transform the life of those who gave, as much as those on the receiving end. 

Kickan is an animal lover, who had noticed the curious fella scurrying around her house from a distance - most likely seeking food and shelter, yet too jaded to come close enough to see whether the doors contained heaven or hell. One evening he appeared at her patio doors in a bad state; his eye hanging from its socket, and clearly in need of medical help. Unfortunately, Kickan's overprotective dogs scared him away, but she knew he needed rescue and veterinary care to survive. That evening, a safe trap was set up, in order to catch then aid the poorly boy.

The first night proved ineffective, and Kickan's concern grew. So the next day she added those pungent odours of sardines and pilchard to the trap; hoping this starving feline would find the allure of old fish impossible to resist. He succumbed, and very early next morning Kickan opened the cover blanket to find a hissing, spitting, and understandably scared cat - later renamed Gandalf. Immediately taken to the vets, his damaged eye was removed and stitched up, flees were cleaned from his body, and Kickan - naturally taking him in as her own after being unable to send him back to the wild, knew he needed much care and attention; to both calm his street hardened persona, and fill out his bare hip bones.

Initially living in a spare room of a house which was fortunately a form of heaven, Gandalf slowly came around to accepting his new life as a house cat; loved and fed with regular aplomb. And while he never grew accustomed to using litter trays - old habits do indeed, die hard, he lived a rich life which, in my view, all animals are fully deserving of. This all happened in 2003, and only this year - in 2014, did Gandalf finally pass over the rainbow bridge to the next world. Human kindness and empathy provided eleven years of love for this cat - a gift without a price, of endless spiritual value...

I often feel a sense of sadness in the plight of feral animals, more accustomed and evolved for domestication. Street cats are tough as nails; hardened by nature, as opposed to being a portion of natural character. But they, like all of us deserve a chance of love, compassion, and life within the confines of a caring family. While Kickan just wanted to help the little guy, this small act carried with it the largest effect. Kickan, and all animal lovers who take in those without thought for themselves - I applaud you; and write this for you, and to salute the memory, of One Eyed Gandalf.

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