After being abandoned as a kitten and losing both of his eyes to an infection, Homer didn’t have it easy, but his life changed when Gwen Cooper adopted him.
She was impressed by the tiny cat’s zest for life despite his hardships, so she took him home and named him after the blind Greek poet who wrote "The Odyssey."
"Fate may have taken Homer’s eyes, but he had my heart from the moment I first held him," she wrote on her blog.
But today, those touched by Homer’s story are mourning his loss. The famous feline, who just celebrated his 16th birthday, was euthanized on Aug. 21.
Homer had been ill since last fall. Veterinarians discovered that his liver enzyme levels were off and he was having intestinal problems.
Although doctors said Homer was close to death, the cat seemed to bounce back early this year. However, his health began to decline this summer and Cooper made a difficult decision.
"I wanted to let you know that we put Homer to sleep this past Wednesday night," she wrote on Homer’s Facebook page, which has 16,000 fans. "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."
As Homer grew from an energetic kitten to a fearless feline, Cooper was amazed. The cat was always taking risks — leaping and climbing around her apartment despite not being able to see.
"I was living with a cat who was not supposed to be able to live a normal life and was not supposed to be able to do things that other cats do,” she told Reuters. "No one ever told him that he couldn't do these things, so he just went ahead and did them."
Cooper was so inspired, that she wrote a memoir titled "Homer’s Odyssey: A Fearless Feline Tale, or How I Learned About Love and Life with a Blind Wonder Cat."
The story of the brave little rescue cat touched millions of lives, and the book has been published in 22 languages.
Cooper donates 10 percent of the royalties from the book to animal rescue organizations, and she often shares the stories of cats in need on Homer’s Facebook page.
To honor Homer’s memory, she plans to create the Homer’s Heroes Fund, which will make a donation in Homer’s name to a shelter or rescue group that works with special-needs animals.
She also plans to donate 100 percent of the royalties from sales of her new book — “Love Saves the Day,” a story told through the eyes of a family cat — from now until Oct. 27.
"He was just one cat. One tiny, big-hearted, irrepressible, brave and loyal little cat. Who could possibly have foreseen that he would come to mean so much to so many?" she wrote. "Those of us who work in animal rescue believe that every animal matters. Every animal who’s given the chance to love and be loved can make someone else’s life better, can fill up empty places in our hearts we didn’t even know were there until they were full."
Learn more about Cooper and Homer in the video below.
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