Bandit was dropped off at his future home in a pale blue cat carrier filled with hand-knitted blankets to snuggle up in.The one-year-old puss had been taken in by Jan Healey and her family, who had signed up as foster carers with Cross Roads-based Yokrshire Cat Rescue (YCR).

“We registered as fosterers following months of hassle from our daughter Tibby," said Jan. "The lovely people at the charity rang me, having come across a number of cats in a multi-cat household which the owner was willing to hand over."

Two of the cats were blind. “I'd said that we were interested in fostering one of the blind cats,” she added. “We decided that we shouldn't discriminate against him because of that." Squashed into the back of his carrier, the family left one-year-old Bandit alone for most of the evening so that he could decide to come out when he felt confident enough.

“After a good while he popped his nose out to have something to eat and eventually ventured out to have a wander around,” said Jan, who works as a teacher. ”We had put his carrier in our hallway where there was little to walk into but a radiator to keep the area warm. We saw that he swung his head around in a wonderful way and we marvelled at how strong his neck muscles were. Being blind, Bandit had to orientate himself using his whiskers and smell."

CR did not know whether Bandit was born blind or had lost his sight as an effect of cat flu through not being vaccinated against it as a kitten - a more likely cause. “It’s a good argument for cats having the jab,” said Jan. The next day after returning from work Jan decided to pull him out of his carrier "as he looked so sad sitting at the very back."

"He was so happy to have a cuddle and curled up in a tiny ball on my knee," she said. "I think that is when I fell in love with him." Well and truly smitten, the family decided to keep him. Not long after he arrived Bandit had to have an operation to remove what remained of his eyes as they were liable to infection. "It was the best thing for him but we hated leaving him overnight,” said Jan.

They worried when he was late back from the vets. "We found out later that he'd had to stay longer because he was 'naughty' and wouldn't keep a collar on to protect his stitches.

"We spent a stressful evening with an anxious cat, trying and failing to stop him scratching his eye sockets. When he eventually revisited the vets to have his stitches removed they said how well he was doing and what a good boy he was."

Since joining the family in January Bandit has settled in well. "He is the most gorgeous little boy imaginable - sweet and gentle, and loves cuddles and playing. He is adventurous and gets himself into tricky situations such as climbing into the empty bath and not being able to climb out - he sits crying for help. He jumps up into places he can't get down from, so climbs if he can, and he runs to us every morning, delighted to 'see' us again."

Adds Jan: "Bandit follows Tibby everywhere. Even our 'cool' university son has acknowledged he is cute. He snuggles up with my husband Iggy every evening just before bedtime and gets him to play silly games on the floor with him. "I just sit and have him climb up onto my knee for a cuddle regardless as to whether I'm about to watch TV or teach a lesson."

Bandit has even been on a camping trip with the family. Said Jan: “He might not have had a wonderful first year but we will do all we can to make the rest of his life happy. We are so pleased that we decided to become foster carers with Yorkshire Cat Rescue and intend to foster again in the future."

Bandit's brother Dobby, who is also blind, has been re-homed. "We are in touch with Dobby and his new family. It's great to share stories and ideas for toys which they can play with and enjoy even though they can't see them. The two cats will soon be reunited. “Bandit is going to stay with Dobby and his family when we are away.”