[tabi] Homer's odyssey changes cat owner's outlook

  • From: "Sila Miller" <silam@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>, <fcb-l@xxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 21 Nov 2010 08:09:13 -0500

Thanks to Georgia. This sounds precious!

Gwen Cooper was not in the market for a new kitten. She'd just broken up with 
her fiance, had move into a friend's spare bedroom, and already had two cats to 
care for. Cooper said she was "consumed with self-pity." . Her veterinarian 
knew about Cooper's circumstances but still called her about a special kitten 
available for adoption. No one else would take the pet. . "She was clearly 
desperate if she called me," Cooper recalls.

The 2-week-old kitten had special needs. He was found wandering the streets of 
New York City, blind. Clearly, the people who brought him to the vet saved his 
life. But when they learned a raging infection prevented saving the kitten's 
sight, and that his eyes would have to be removed, they were no longer 
interested in adoption. It seemed no one wanted the kitten, including the vet, 
who had a toddler at home who was allergic to cats, as well as a couple of big 

"I really didn't know what to expect," says Cooper. As it turned out, the 
kitten "was so happy," Cooper recalls. "The first time I met him, he walked 
right up to me and tried to nuzzle under my chin, walking around with an 
Elizabethan collar larger than him, eyes still stitched, probably in pain, and 
purring. I instantly realized that my worst week was like Disneyland compared 
to what this little kitten had gone through."

In moments, they bonded.

"Oh for God's sake, I'm taking him home," Cooper told the vet.

A fan of Greek mythology, Cooper named the cat Homer, the fabled blind poet of 
heroic tales. Indeed, Homer turned out to be an epic figure who went on great 
adventures daily - in Cooper's home. She wrote about those events in Homer's 
Odyssey: A Fearless Feline Tale, or How I Learned About Life With a Blind 
Wonder Cat (Bantam Books, New York, NY, 2010; $15).

The adventures began on Homer's first day home. The tiny kitten instantly used 
the litter box, and has never lost track of the box's location. After cozying 
up to Cooper's roomie, he walked to the edge of the bed and took his first leap 
of faith - to the floor far below.

"Those leaps of faith are a daily occurrence for Homer; he doesn't just wallow 
in a corner," Cooper says. 

From the start, Homer inserted himself into everything. He loves meeting new 
people, and the noisier they are, the better. Construction workers are 

What he can't see, it seems Homer manages to compensate for with his other 
senses. He catches flies in mid-air.

"He's like a little sonar dish," says Cooper. "In order to do this, not only 
does Homer have to know where a fly is, but also where the fly is going. His 
sense of smell is so keen. Homer and my husband both love turkey. My husband 
has to run the faucet in the kitchen or even in the bathroom with the door 
closed to attempt to make a sandwich without Homer knowing."

Cooper's book isn't only about an adventurous, funny cat; it's also about 
living your life. Disability isn't what others may perceive. Unenlightened 
friends and acquaintances have asked Cooper why Homer wasn't euthanized. If you 
read the book, the question doesn't require an answer.

"Pets have a lot to teach us about living," says Cooper. "I learned from Homer 
that no one can tell you what your potential is. Special-needs cats shouldn't 
be cats of last resort; they're no less capable of giving love than 'normal' 

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