Homer: The Ninth Life of a Blind Wonder Cat
Written by: Gwen Cooper
Published By: Gwen Cooper
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
Some time ago, I read a book about an amazing cat named Homer. Homer’s Odyssey was a true story about a blind cat that no one wanted. No one, that is, except budding author Gwen Cooper, who seemed to see something special in this cat stricken with the double whammy – he was a black cat (very hard to adopt this particular color cat for some inexplicable reason) and he had a disability. Reading this story about a cat who didn’t seem to know he had a disability at all, was uplifting and beautiful (especially for the cat fan in me). When I discovered there was a sequel, I couldn’t wait to read it.
Homer: The Ninth Life of a Blind Wonder Cat is short compared to the original Homer’s Odyssey. The simple fact is, Homer lived to be about 16-years-old, but Homer’s Odyssey was published in paperback format when he was twelve. The original book was about the first decade or so of his life. The sequel would pick up where it left off, and catalogue the final years of Homer’s life. It actually touches upon the publication of the original book and the craziness that took place once a publisher was found.
I loved the tales of photoshoots and the various methods Cooper used to get Homer to participate in such things. Though no longer a kitten, Homer still participated in kitten-like antics that made me laugh. I was sad to read about what is an eventuality for all pet lovers – the passing of Gwen Cooper’s older cats and the effect on the family and Homer, specifically, who became depressed after the loss of his best friend. The story of the introduction of two kittens into the Cooper home was adorable and it only seemed fitting that yet another special needs kitten (another black cat to boot) would find its way into the Cooper household.
Prior to reading this book, I had already known about Homer’s passing, but it still upset me to read the moments when he was diagnosed with illness. I loved his stoic attitude about it all – a cat person who has been through this understands perfectly how cats will often hide symptoms of illness from their people. I loved reading about Lawrence’s innovative ways of making sure Homer continued to eat. They made me think of my own adventure in getting Natasia to continue eating once the cancer began to advance. I couldn’t help but laugh at the various foods being fed to Homer that one would never think to feed a healthy cat – I’d been through it, too, feeding Natasia ham, hot dogs, pumpkin ice cream…anything to make certain she ate.
When I read about Homer’s final moments, of course I cried – what human who ever loved a pet wouldn’t? But Homer: The Ninth Life of a Blind Wonder Cat is less about the final moments of his life and more about what Homer brought to the Coopers’ lives. Homer’s inability to accept that he had a disability and his antics were an inspiration to the author, so much so that she wrote a book about it. That book became a bestseller and Gwen Cooper began interacting with fans of the book, learning about other cats with disabilities and helping to find homes for those kittens. She also became an advocate for all sorts of pet causes, from finding homes for cats with disabilities to collecting money and resources for those unfortunate pets suffering the effects of natural disasters.
In a way, Homer expanded Gwen Cooper’s horizons in a way that no ordinary cat ever could. Gwen’s writing helps endear Homer to her readers and we find ourselves comparing experiences, laughing along with the highs and crying along with the lows. Homer: The Ninth Life of a Blind Wonder Cat is a perfect sequel to Homer’s Odyssey and, hopefully, a look at new adventures to come with the new kittens introduced into the Cooper household. I recommend this book to any fan of Homer’s life as well as any fans of cats in general.