Homer the 'Eyeless Wonder-Cat' hits home again - this time in a book
Homer was a couple of weeks old when I found him…maybe 21 days at the most. A young couple brought him in after finding him—I can’t remember where.
His eyes were swollen shut. I recall the presence of maggots. Though the couple requested he be euthanized on account of his certain blindness and disgusting appearance ... I couldn’t do it.
How can I describe my feelings at the time?
I was a young, idealistic veterinarian. I saw a patient I could help with a simple, pain-relieving procedure. And, of course, I saw great things in Homer's eyeless future.
I knew that a cat who had never achieved vision would never miss the sensory experience of sight. Why couldn’t he be given a chance to live a "normal" life on his own unusual terms?
That’s when I surgically removed what was left of his tiny eyes and hoped for the best.
Homer survived. He thrived. And he eventually remained with a family friend. one Gwen Cooper. Later, he moved from Miami to New York with her.
Here he is for those of you who doubt his ability to live a normal kitty life:
This was ten years ago. And now Random House has agreed to publish Homer’s fantastic story, courtesy of Ms. Cooper. The feline version of Homer’s “odyssey” will finally be available in print — though not for a year or so yet.
It’s curious how teensy the animal writing world can be. When Gwen called me from New York to tell me of Homer’s literary success I was thrilled, of course. How could I not harbor an indelible mushy spot for this cat … despite not having laid eyes on him for all these years?
Not only is Homer an inspirational example of what anyone can accomplish when given the chance to survive — not to mention a loving home. It’s also an example of how one seemingly eccentric decision ten years ago can motivate so many to see life differently.
Homer’s “odyssey” will doubtless mean different things to different people — and that’s one reason why his story deserves to be told. But for me, Homer will always be an intensely personal reminder of what veterinary medicine can pull off when it’s infused with the idealism of youth. He’ll always remind me that there’s nothing a partnership between a veterinarian, a loving owner and one fighting patient can’t achieve. It's a story for all of us to live by.