Caturday felids: The passing of notable cats

January 4, 2014 • 1:44 am

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

Here’s Homer:

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And a short video about Homer and his owner:

Here are photos of the rest, minus their stories.

Tuxedo Stan (photo by Hugh Chisholm):

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Alfie, the most famous cat in Wales:

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Ugly Bat Boy (“Uggs”), the world’s homeliest cat (photo by WBZ TV):

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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):

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Now go read their stories; you won’t regret it.

14 thoughts on “Caturday felids: The passing of notable cats

  1. The list is missing Fum, the Catalonian companion of Gebra, a falconry-trained barn owl. He died of a urinary tract blockage in April at age three. The pair became famous after their family posted several beautiful Youtube videos of them.
    I don’t get attached to much that I find online but that affected me as if it had been one of my own cats, and I lost two in 2013.

  2. Back in the eighties, I found in the middle of the night in the middle of a country road a little kitten. Its eyes were infected and covered with a crust, and it was covered in fleas who were draining it of its blood. I took him home, soaked the crusts that covered his eyes and kept them closed, gently easing them off. I then bathed him to get rid of the fleas and wash him as he was filthy with mud and flea poop.

    I took him to the vet and he got a vitamin shot. The vet gave me the equipment I needed to rehydrate him via a subcutaneous drip, and antibiotics as well as kitten formula. I had bottles and teats at home.

    I fed him eight times per 24 hours and nursed him back to health. He was a beautiful Chartreux cat with a wonderful personality. He was used to travel with me in the car, and we’d go on short vacations around Switzerland, staying in hotels which accepted pets.

    He passed away when he was about ten years old, from feline leukemia – doubtless he had the virus in him from the start, but he didn’t contaminate any of my other cats. I did have him vaccinated, but if he already had the virus, it was to no avail save to delay the onset.

  3. I just saw the Coen Brother’s movie “A Serious Man” and Ugg has the demeanor of the senior rabbi. I think he looks like a wizard…

  4. I’m a big fan of Lil Bub, the abandoned runt of a litter who was born with an undersized lower jaw, for starters. He gradually developed skeletal deformities in his arms and legs which, on xray, were from osteopetrosis — stone bone. It is known in humans, but I had never heard of it in a cat. Lil Bub’s owner uses Lil Bub to promote awareness and adoption of animals, especially cats with disabilities, using tags at the end of every Lil Bub video on YouTube and a published book. It is amazing that Lil Bub is so (otherwise) healthy, travels to meet fans in person, and takes to every new location. Perhaps he knows he’s a star!

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