Reader Merilee called my attention to a piece in the Dec. 31 New York Times called “The purrpose driven life.” It’s a lovely read, recounting the death of five notable cats in 2013, including, Tuxedo Stan, Homer, Alfie, Ugly Bat Boy (“the world’s ugliest cat”), and Arnie. If you’re an ailurophile, you’ll want to read them all. I’ll reproduce one—about Homer, the blind cat:
Homer was just two weeks old when he was found wandering the streets of Miami with a severe eye infection. Two people brought him to a veterinarian named Patricia Khuly and suggested she put him to sleep to end his suffering. Instead, Khuly surgically removed his eyes to keep the infection from spreading and began looking for someone to adopt the tiny obsidian kitten. Many people shied away from the special-needs feline, but when Gwen Cooper met him, she was smitten. She entertained several possibilities (her roommate suggested Socket) before naming the kitten after the blind Greek poet. Veterinarians warned Cooper that blindness could make him more timid than most cats, but he proved them wrong.
One night in 2000, Cooper wrote, she was awoken by Homer growling on her bed. An intruder was in her room, and when Cooper turned on the light, Homer launched himself at the trespasser’s face, biting and scratching ferociously. The man fled.
By the time Homer died on Aug. 21, at age 16, Cooper had sold more than 250,000 copies of her book, “Homer’s Odyssey,” which helped raise awareness about the plight of blind cats. “Because of Homer and his story, many shelters no longer euthanize blind cats immediately upon intake, and we’re seeing far higher adoption rates of blind cats,” Alana Miller, the executive director of Blind Cat Rescue and Sanctuary, told Cooper for an article. “He’s helped save countless lives.” — Daniel E. Slotnik
And a short video about Homer and his owner:
Here are photos of the rest, minus their stories.
Tuxedo Stan (photo by Hugh Chisholm):
Alfie, the most famous cat in Wales:
Ugly Bat Boy (“Uggs”), the world’s homeliest cat (photo by WBZ TV):
And Arnie, from England’s Linton Zoo, who fostered a whole variety of animals. Here he is taking care of Zara, a lion cub (photo from the Linton Zoo):
Now go read their stories; you won’t regret it.