A Tribute to Homer, The Blind Wonder Cat

Homers_Odyssey

I read Homer’s Odyssey: A Fearless Feline Tale, or How I Learned About Love and Life from a Blind Wonder Cat by Gwen Cooper a few days after it was first released in 2009. The book debuted on  the New York Times Bestseller List at number 14, and has been translated into more than 15 languages since then. This moving, inspirational and often funny story about a blind cat with a huge spirit and an endless capacity for love, joy and a determination to persevere no matter what the obstacles is a wonderful celebration of the bond between a cat and his human and the transformational power of loving an animal.

Homer's_Odyssey_Gwen_Cooper

Gwen Cooper had to let Homer go last Wednesday after a prolonged illness. I found out about it, along with the rest of the world, on Homer’s Facebook page, where Gwen wrote: “I wanted to let you know that we put Homer to sleep this past Wednesday night. He was so tired, and it was time. We were lucky enough to find a very gentle vet to come to us at home, and Homer passed peacefully, in his own bed, in my arms.”

My heart broke for Gwen when I read the news. It’s always hard when a cat dies. But when that cat is the kind of cat like Homer, who inspired millions around the world, the loss is devastating. Gwen didn’t report the news until a few days after Homer’s passing, because, she said in her Facebook update, “I needed some time to mourn privately before being able to do so publicly.” Grief is a private emotion, and while there is great comfort in the support of friends and fans, there’s also a time for private mourning – and I’m glad Gwen honored that need.

Once she was able to, she wrote a heart-wrenchingly beautiful blog post about Homer’s passing. The post speaks about the joy Homer brought to her life, and the world, but it also speaks of the devastating pain of loss:

“The thought that keeps coming to me is that nobody will ever love me again like Homer did.  I know how self-pitying that sounds, and I should clarify that I don’t mean to say that nobody will ever love as much as Homer did. I’ve been extraordinarily lucky to have known a great deal of love—love that has gone on four legs and two—in my life. But Homer, even at his most rambunctious and curious and engaged with the world around him, lived to love me. He lived to love me. And even after all the writing about Homer, and worrying about him, and building the person I grew into around him, I still feel that it’s only now—now that the knowledge is sinking in that I’ll never, never see him again in this life—that I’m realizing fully how much of my own life was lived for the sake of loving him back.”

This is what it feels like when you loose a special cat.

In addition to touching hearts and souls around the world, Homer’s Odyssey has shined the spotlight on special needs cats. Gwen has been donating 10% of the book’s royalties to organizations that serve abused, abandoned, and disabled animals. In order to honor Homer’s legacy, and to keep his memory alive, Gwen is creating the Homer’s Heroes Fund. Every year, she will make a donation in Homer’s name to a shelter or rescue group that does outstanding work with “special needs” animals.

Loev_Saves_the_Day_Gwen_Cooper

Gwen’s newest book, Love Saves the Day, will come out in paperback on October 22nd. For every copy of the paperback that is pre-ordered or bought in-store or online between now and Sunday, October 27, Gwen will donate 100% of her royalties to a shelter through the Homer’s Heroes Fund.

My heart goes out to Gwen as she mourns the loss of Homer. May it be of some comfort to her that cat lovers around the world are mourning with her.

Rest easy, sweet Homer. You will never be forgotten.

Photo of Homer from his Facebook page.

24 Comments on A Tribute to Homer, The Blind Wonder Cat

  1. Tammy Parks
    June 16, 2019 at 1:55 pm (10 months ago)

    I recently took on a cat, Hunter, 2, who is partially blind. They didn’t know. I’ve had several loving cats, but never blind. I’m open for all suggestions! God bless you Gwen, I know your pain. Losing my own sight is my biggest fear, I want Hunter to have an awesome life with me!

    Reply
  2. Comedy Plus
    August 30, 2013 at 11:08 am (7 years ago)

    I’m so very sorry. Big healing hugs. 🙂

    Reply
  3. Cynthia Southern
    August 29, 2013 at 12:30 am (7 years ago)

    Homer will be missed. He was one amazing cat and his story was written so well by Gwen Cooper. Due to this book more blind cats are now being adopted per Gwen in her Huffington Post interview. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gwen-cooper/homers-odyssey-blind-wonder-cat-dies_b_3831049.html?utm_hp_ref=new-york&ir=New%20York So many cats have been saved and the world now sees that blind cats make great pets too. Fly home sweet homer and see the beauty of the Rainbow Bridge. You will be missed.

    Reply
  4. Gail
    August 28, 2013 at 10:36 pm (7 years ago)

    I read “Homer’s Odyssey” awhile ago, and was very touched by his story. I’ve checked back on Gwen’s site often in order to find out how Homer was doing. He seemed to be capable of amazing recoveries.

    Sad to say, this time was too much for him, and reading the tribute made me cry.

    Finding out about Homer leaving for the Rainbow Bridge hit particularly hard right now, since the one cat that has always insisted on going outside (he would sneak and hide and bolt the minute the door opened) has been missing since last Saturday, and I fear that he might not be coming home.

    Reply
  5. Bernie
    August 28, 2013 at 9:30 pm (7 years ago)

    This is a beautiful and loving tribute you have written about Homer and Gwen. I, as many do, know the terrible pain of losing my kitten. Gwen, know this, I am thinking of you and hoping that you do know that Homer is now seeing and romping among the blades of grasses and flowers waiting for you to come home some day. He is with you always and always.

    Reply
  6. The Island Cats
    August 28, 2013 at 6:04 pm (7 years ago)

    Homer was an inspiration to us all…both fur and human. He will be missed.

    Reply
  7. luisa fuselli
    August 28, 2013 at 4:21 pm (7 years ago)

    Omero non verrà mai dimenticato perchè ha saputo toccare il cuore di tutti quelli che hanno letto la sua storia. Ed ha molto insegnato!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      August 28, 2013 at 4:28 pm (7 years ago)

      For our English speaking readers, according to Google translate, this translates to “Homer will never be forgotten because it has been able to touch the hearts of all those who have read his story. And he taught us a lot!” and I agree with Luisa!

      Reply
      • luisa fuselli
        August 28, 2013 at 4:49 pm (7 years ago)

        thank you Ingrid!

        Reply
  8. Sue Brandes
    August 28, 2013 at 2:41 pm (7 years ago)

    I was saddened to hear of Homer’s passing. So many kitty friends went to the bridge this week including one of mine. My heart breaks for all.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      August 28, 2013 at 4:33 pm (7 years ago)

      I’m so sorry about your loss, Sue. You’re in my thoughts.

      Reply
  9. Caren Gittleman
    August 28, 2013 at 2:30 pm (7 years ago)

    beautiful Ingrid, my heart is aching as are the hearts of millions of others!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      August 28, 2013 at 4:33 pm (7 years ago)

      Thanks, Caren. I know we’ve all been there, but I still can’t imagine how hard this must be for Gwen.

      Reply
  10. Bobbi Hahn
    August 28, 2013 at 10:56 am (7 years ago)

    Lovely post, Ingrid. I was devastated when I read Gwen’s post, and her tribute to Homer had me sobbing. Amazing, what a profound effect a little bundle of fur can make in our lives, and what a hole it leaves in our hearts when we lose them. But I wouldn’t trade a moment I’ve spent with the many cats and dogs I’ve shared my life with, even with the knowledge that, somewhere down the road, I was in for tremendous heartache.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      August 28, 2013 at 4:32 pm (7 years ago)

      I agree, Bobbi. Even though it’s so painful when we loose these beloved companions, I would still never trade a single moment with them.

      Reply
  11. Bopeeps
    August 28, 2013 at 8:59 am (7 years ago)

    When I read that blog post last week, it broke my heart. So real and from the heart.

    Diana

    Reply
  12. Pamela
    August 28, 2013 at 8:36 am (7 years ago)

    We have all had our hearts broken when we loose out beloved pets. They are all special in their own ways. All they want in life is to be loved and to return that love. Every pet teaches us a lesson in life. They are all wonderful. All different. All loved as they should be. And what they give back is just undiscribable

    Reply
  13. Margaret
    August 28, 2013 at 8:02 am (7 years ago)

    We all have been there and know what it is like – and Homer was obviously a very special cat. Memories don’t fade and he will be waiting for you the other side of that
    famous Rainbow Bridge where all our much loved pets – I am sure will be.

    Let the good memories surface and stay with you.

    Reply
  14. Karen and Gerard
    August 28, 2013 at 6:46 am (7 years ago)

    We are so sorry to hear this. We both enjoyed the book and can only imagine how devastating this is for Gwen. I’ve had my heart broken several times when our pet cats have died–it’s just a gulf of sadness. I am so impressed though that the vet came to the house–that had to make it at least a tiny bit better saying goodbye at home. Homer was an amazing, wonderful cat!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      August 28, 2013 at 4:31 pm (7 years ago)

      Many vets will perform in home euthanasia, Karen and Gerard, even if they don’t advertise it. Hopefully, you won’t need those services, but if you ever do, ask your own vet. There’s also a directory of vets who will perform in home euthansia: http://www.inhomepeteuthanasia.com/

      Reply
  15. Dash Kitten
    August 28, 2013 at 6:35 am (7 years ago)

    Nicely written, and ver gracious. Thsnk you

    Reply
  16. Rudolph.A.Furtado
    August 28, 2013 at 1:14 am (7 years ago)

    All pet owners realize the pain of getting their pet euthanized and cat “Homers” life-story is definitely a miracle of pet care and the cats will for survival.I once owned a Spitz bitch “Blondie(1976-1984)” that went blind in old age but adjusted excellently to her handicap, feeling her way through our small flat by means of scent and touch.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      August 28, 2013 at 4:29 pm (7 years ago)

      It is quite amazing how well animals can adjust to being blind.

      Reply

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