Friday, December 2, 2011

Interview with Homer, the “Blind Wonder Cat”

By Julia Williams

When a tiny homeless kitten was just a wee lad of three weeks, he developed a terrible eye infection. His eyes were surgically removed to save his life, but that was not the biggest obstacle the brave little kitty would face. Finding a forever home for a blind kitten is a daunting task, and his fate seemed all but sealed. Luckily, he met a kind woman named Gwen who knew at once that she loved this plucky little ball of fur despite his handicap. She took him home and named him Homer.

That decision proved to be life-changing for Homer and for Gwen, as this spirited kitty who didn’t know he was different has taught Gwen many things. Among them, that “love isn’t something you see with your eyes.” Gwen wrote a book about her life-changing decision to adopt the little blind kitten no one wanted, and Homer's Odyssey: A Fearless Feline Tale, or How I Learned About Love and Life with a Blind Wonder Cat became a national bestseller. It’s a wonderful book that would make a great Christmas gift for a cat lover, and Gwen gives 10% of her royalties to charities that serve blind cats. Homer graciously agreed to an interview so our readers could get to know a little more about him. You can also follow Homer on Facebook!

JW: Why does your Mom call you a Wonder Cat?
Homer: Because of how amazing I am! ;-p  Seriously though, nobody ever expected a blind cat like me to be able to do much.  So the fact that I can do everything any other cat can do— and even some things they can't—makes mom say that I'm a real wonder!

What are some of the challenges you face not being able to see?
It takes me a little longer to learn my way around new rooms (although once I learn where everything is, I never forget!), and if my mom leaves something like a pair of shoes lying around, I usually trip over them.  Mom says I force her to be neat, which is a good thing!  I used to be more startled by loud noises if I didn't know where they were coming from, but my mom always made me feel very safe and secure.  Loud noises haven't scared me much since I was a kitten.

If you could have your sight for just one day, what would you most like to see?
I'd most like to see the faces of everyone in my family.  I know what they look like in my head, but not what they really look like.

I hear you have a talent for catching flies in mid-air. How do you do that?
My sense of hearing is very strong—stronger than most cats.  I can hear exactly where the flies are, and if I listen carefully enough I can even tell how they're moving.  You'd be surprised how easy it is to catch them when you can hear them as well as I do!

What are some of the other amazing things you can do?
I can tell which sealed can has tuna fish in it, even though I can't see the shape of the can.  And I can tell the second my mom has woken up in the mornings by how the sound of her breathing changes.  As soon as her eyes open, I run over to her so she can give me a good morning scratch behind my ears.

How did you chase away the intruder who broke into your home?
That was a scary night!  I think the intruder got scared because of how loud I growled when I thought he was going to hurt my mom.  I even tried to scratch him with my claws!  And mom says it was probably startling for him to see a cat without any eyes—I'm sure he didn't know what to think of me.  Hee!

Are there other pets in the home? What kind of relationship do you have with them?
I used to have two sis-furs, Scarlett and Vashti.  We lost Vashti last year after a long battle with chronic renal failure.  She was always very patient and gentle with me (she was a very sweet cat).  Mom says Scarlett and I have a “roadrunner and coyote” relationship.  I like to chase Scarlett around and force her to play with me.  She doesn't always feel like playing, so sometimes she gets mad.  But we're still good friends!  We even take naps together all the time.

How old are you now? Has it gotten easier to get around your home as you get older?
I'm almost fifteen.  I still get around just as well as I always have— I can still jump just as high and run just as fast. 

Do you see yourself as any different from other cats, or just the same minus the eyes?
As anybody who lives with cats know, every cat has his or her own personality.  The ways that I'm different from other cats have nothing to do with being blind.  Even though I'm a “senior cat” now, I'm still very playful all the time.  Mom says I act more like a kitten than most cats my age do.  But other than that, I think I'm probably like most other cats.

What is your favorite thing to do?
Curl up in my mom's lap while she's writing.  She says I'm her "ins-purr-ation!"

Your Mom’s book is a New York Times best seller. What do you think it is about your story that has captured the hearts of so many people?
Times are very hard right now, and I think people like hearing about someone like me—who had so many odds against him— overcoming those odds and living a good life anyway.  Sometimes it's hard to remember how much we can all do if we just believe in ourselves.

What do you like most about being a Celebricat?
I think the best thing is that so many people who've read my story have decided to give a “special needs” cat a chance.  People have written to us and said that they wouldn't have done so before reading my story, but now they realize how amazing living with a special-needs pet can be.

If you could tell people something about blind cats that they might not already know, what would it be?
That a blind cat, in the end, is just a cat who is every bit as capable of loving you and living a wonderful life as any other cat. Too many people didn't want to adopt me as a kitten because I was “different.”  But just because someone's a little different doesn't mean they're too different to love.

Read more articles by Julia Williams


  1. Homer is such a purrsonable guy! That's it, I'm gonna go download his mom's book NOW.

  2. We LOVED this book and have loaned our copy to many people!!!

  3. Homer, you are the best spokespurrson ever for blind kitties. Pythia sends her regards!

  4. This is THE Purr-fect interview!!!!!!! Homer is truly a wonder cat not just because of how he has overcome his disability, but because he has inspired so many people to want to help others like him. I know it inspired my family - my daughter just adopted a blind-in-one-eye kitten from a litter of strays found next to the railroad tracks behind a small local store. And she did it because she knew that was the one that no one else would want. Thank you, Homer, for giving us the courage to take this little one in, she is certainly a charmer and we are having a lot of fun seeing what she can do!

  5. I hope we could ever get a translation of this book to spanish... I'd even pleasefully help to it for only the pleasure of doin it.

  6. I have read Homer's story and loaned it to five people who all loved it. Homer is one gorgeous, brilliant cat and so is his mom, Gwen!!!! Well, not the cat part, but you know what I mean!

  7. I think Homer's story has made people more aware of the 'special needs' pets, and to be more bold and to adopt them. Before we adopted our boy kitty who was born with cataracts, we were a bit scared and relied on the advice found by google. It's turned out to be nothing to be afraid of. I'd definitely recommend Homer's book not only for all cat lovers, but also for anyone who's considering adopting a blind or otherwise 'special' cat. Just because a cat or a dog can't see or hear or has less limbs or tail than a 'normal' kitty or doggy does not make him or her any less perfect or any less fun buddies.

  8. That is one of the best books I have ever read and Homer is just amazing. What a special cat he is. Great interview with a great cat. Well done.

  9. Helen Kalliope SmithDecember 2, 2011 at 11:41 AM

    I've also read the book, and am full of ad-meow-ration for Homer, and also for his devoted human mother Gwen, for making it puss-ible for Homer to live like a happy pussycat. Prrrrr! ♥

  10. I loved that book and I'm always going to be glad I read it. xoxo

  11. You just gotta love that Homer!!! Talk about one special critter!

  12. We LOVE LOVE LOVE Homer! We've been watching him on "i can has cheezburger" videos!

    I dunno about Da Bird cuz I never playing wif one, but I LOVE my Neko Fly (as you can tell MOL!)

  13. Homer is my Hero and Signorina Julia izza meowvalous for interviewing him. I says HOMER for Purrrresident!

  14. Psssst - I hopes I didn't goofzatini and send from da wrong account! MOL I makes mistakes cuz I'ma enjoying some FurEyeDay nip!

  15. Great interview! I loved the book. A wonderful heartwarming story and so well written!

  16. That was a great interview! We enjoyed learning more about Homer!

  17. Homer, we think you are amazing! You are such a beautiful cat!

  18. We love Homer, too! Thank you for this interview. He and his mom are such inspirations! :)

  19. We had the honor of reviewing Homer Blind Cat over a year ago now.

    Gwen was the first author we met on Twitter, she had contacted us asking if we were interested in reviewing her book. At the time we had never done a book review before (we don't think we told her that lol). We were soooo nervous because we adored Gwen and we adored her book and we wanted to do it justice.

    Since that book review was such an enormous success we now have authors and publishers sending us books (unsolicited for the most part) which is an enormous honor.

    We thank Gwen and Homer because without them we would never have been able to add book reviews to our blog or have the courage to do them!

    We ADORE Gwen and Homer!

  20. Homer you sweet handsome boy! after reading your interview I was so very touched. We have 3 kitties now and someday would like to adopt a special needs kitty too. You inspire so many people and your Mommy, Gwen as well. Tons of hugs and kisses to you Homer, your sister and Mommy. XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

  21. I LOVED this book! It's a must-read for cat lovers. I don't own any cats (allergic, unfortunately), but I've always thought they were beautiful creatures to be around. I read the book shortly after it came out and couldn't stop talking about it afterward. I now own the book. :)

    Wonderful story...wonderful read...

  22. I was truly inspired by Homer and Gwen (I love Scarlett and Vashti too :D), and this book was so well-written. So many things happened to the four of them but they all pulled through it until their life was stable. The book is a must-read for cat lovers and I would suggest it to anyone. Even people who don't particularly like cats would be touched by it. After reading Homer's Odyssey I thought more about how I love my own cat so much that I would stop at nothing to protect him and make sure he's happy. It was hard for me to put the book down...espeially during the part about September 11th. I thank Gwen for writing this wonderful book that I enjoyed so much.


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