Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Trouble With The Royals....

I've got a decision to make, and a bit of a dilemma. Been talking to Janet from Bengal Rescue tonight (Our Bengalgirl)but might as well talk to you too, since I am home. Maybe someone has an idea.

It's King Lear, one of my Fosters that we call The Royals.

You may remember they came to me in October, having been adopted from a breeder, Lear and his friend , Little Queen Mab, by someone in Chicago, then when she couldn't keep them, they came to rescue, then to another home, where it became quickly clear it wasn't working out.

King Lear is an Early Generation Bengal, F2. He wasn't given proper care when young by the breeder, in terms of socializing, and the EG Bengals often can't go from home to home well, especially when they end up with people who don't know what they are getting, except that it is a "Wild Cat".

Later generation Bengals are wonderful cats, and they make lovely pets, if you have the time for them, and understand them. I can't stress enough that the early generation Bengals REALLY need special care. They need it from the moment of birth, and good breeders know this, they handle them right, and place them in homes with people who have the experience to handle them.

They bond with the person, most often THE one person hard. Trust comes hard to them. The later generation ones do too, but can, tho they are scared, make the transfer to a new home, with the right people. We have very few instances where it doesn't work.

I think Lear has never had reason to trust anyone.

Queen Mab is very sweet, and tho timid, could easily make a wonderful pet. I had hoped, working with Lear, that he could too. I am starting to face the fact that he will not. I can't re-home this guy. Whoever we place him with, and it would have to be someone very like me, would have to start over again, and he would be one more person down on the trust scale.

I've been trying to introduce, slowly, other women to him. We know he doesn't like men at ALL. He will have none of it, even with women, tho I have done everything possible to make this a good thing for him.

He trusts me. It worries him, but he trusts. I have never had a reason to be afraid of him. I pet him, and play with him. He takes care of Mab. He will not come out if there is another person in the house, let alone his room.

Nathilie took this from a fair distance, with no flash, and this after spending some days coming into the room, putting out the food, talking softly.

Not exactly a poster child for "Adopt me Please"

He's too wild. And don't get me started on what I think of the people who breed these guys then dump them. I could never adopt him with someone who didn't understand the score, and I could never guarantee their safety, not if he goes this aggressive. He is huge, and could seriously hurt someone if he felt threatened enough.

In talking with Janet, we have come to the point of some hard choices with him. We can adopt, save, and send onto wonderful homes most Bengals. But not Lear, who like Magic, is out of options.

He can go to a sanctuary. Or perhaps a good breeder will give him a home, he'd be in a kennel, but he would live, as the third choice is he will need to be put down.

The biggest problem is that I told him I would make it ok, and that he would be safe with me.

And he believed me.

I am really open to ideas here, tho I am pretty sure I know what I need to do.

I hope it can never be said of me I broke a trust.

And I hope it never will.

Love and Lear,


At 23:02 Blogger DataGoddess said...

Oh, poor Lear! He looks absolutely terrified in the picture Nathilie was able to get, even though we know she is no threat to him.

Is there a sanctuary where he and Mab would be okay, and safe? Would they have to be split up because she's not early generation? Is there a sanctuary you or Janet know he could go?

And could you let him go, knowing he trusts you?

It's hard stuff.


At 23:10 Blogger Na said...

{{{Lorraine and Janet}}} That is distressing news. Here's wishing for a best-case scenario.

At 23:11 Blogger Dragonsally said...

This is the really heart breaking side of fostering, where you've done your best and nothing more can be done. Nine months is a long time, and surely improvement would have happened if it were possible. I remember a stray that found its way to me - tried my very best but she was too frightened and violent to the other cats and in the end had to be euthanised. It broke my heart, she was gentle and loving with me but no-one else.
I don't think you've betrayed his trust - you've done as much as you can with him and he is stopping Queen Mab from finding her people.

At 23:12 Blogger Dan Guy said...

Difficult choices...

The mental image that I have of a Bengal sanctuary is like a wild game preserve where Bengals stalk their prey upon the savanna.

At 23:14 Blogger Lyndyn said... it possible that he is his where he needs to be right now? Can you keep him?

I wonder if by removing Mim, His Magesty might become more human focused? I think that the former feral kitten that I adopted last year was open to becoming a "former feral" in part because he ended up all alone in our back yard after having been part of a tiny tightly knit little feral cat group that just evaporated. (They are all still around - they just split up for some reason...but I see them from time to time.)

I don't know if it makes sense, but this little guy was just lonely and he'd seen us all his little life. He went from a hissing ball of fur that hid in the wood pile whenever we went into the back yard to clawing at the back door demanding that we come out and play and now, as I type this, he is very likely curled up in the bathroom sink asleep.

I know that Bengals are different, of course - but...I wonder if it is possible that Mim is actually holding him back?

At 23:23 Blogger FabulousLorraine said...

To clarify, Lyndon, Mim is my Bengal who lives with Venus. Lear's friend is Mab, and I think, one of the only things that keeps him at all connected to this world. I can't separate them.

She loves him, and he her. They are all they have, except for me.

I think a sanctuary would not take Mab, she is very adoptable. But would she be happy away from him? Or he her? And a sanctuary in MN is not outdoors year round, I need more info on it tho, before I can decide.

If I keep them, I am done fostering. No more room.

Save the one? Save more in the future? Sacrifice the one for the many?

What the heck is this, Sophie's Choice?

At 23:24 Blogger Maura Anderson said...

This is so hard. I had something similar with a cat I was fostering that had been dumped at work. He wasn't a bengal, just a very very scared (and I later found out abused) house cat.

It took me 3 months to get him to come out from under the futon in his room when just I was in the room. But he bonded with me. In the end, when he was sitting on me and I was petting him, I thought about all the coaxing and the times I told him it would be okay. I decided to keep him. I just could not put him through this again with another person.

It took him another 2 years before the poor guy would let my husband put his face near his own.

He has some emotional issues and always will. He became very sick last year and is now known as Skippy because of the $3K of medical treatment he required after swallowing a whole peanut and almost dying, then having months of injectible antibiotics for infections later. During all this we found out his tail had been broken in multiple places and his sternum was permanently separated - most likely from being kicked.

Now, 6 years later, he comes to me and curls up on my chest to cuddle and purr.

There have been times of frustration, especially having to clean up when his periodic lingering health issues cause .. ummm.. digestive problems. But I don't regret it.

I know it doesn't help your situation but sometimes all you can do is your best.

At 23:25 Blogger Lyndyn said...

Oh...and yes...9 months is a long time, but, I know what my last foster dog (I've mentioned him before, I think) - 9 months was just getting started on his rehab. I just got this note from his family, who adopted him after he lived with me for almost two years:

"Duffy still improves all the time! He is doing really well. He has even made a couple of new human friends and lets them come into our house or yard without a complete Duffy inspection. We all love him totally of course..."

It has been over six years since someone handed me a six month old golden border collie mix pup who didn't know how to play and was afraid of being under a roof...I took him as far as I could and it took his new family to get him to the next stage on his journey.

So...yes...nine months is a long time, but who knows what Lear (and Magic, too) have in them...

I think, in the end, its the love that Duffy's mom mentions in her note that does the trick...right now, that love is yours..maybe he has come as far as he will go...but, maybe someday, you will meet someone else whose love will be able to get him to the next stage on his path...

At 23:27 Blogger vampi said...

oh dear. i have no advice to give, just love. let year heart guide you, and no matter what, know you have made a difference in his life, even if for only a short while.

At 23:29 Blogger Dragonsally said...

Lynden, you've raised some good points there.

Lorraine, I don't envy you the decision which sounds like it gets down to saving Lear and Mab, or saving more Bengals. If they stay with you, will they be confined to the Romance Room, do you think they could be integrated with Venus and Mim ever?

At 23:39 Blogger FabulousLorraine said...

They are in the Forest Bedroom, a large room with a huge closet. I could manage the house to let them have the entire upstaires, and access to the Scream Porch at certain times.

No chance at integration with Venus and Mim. Venus is death on any other cat, and the later gens very often do not ever like the EG's. Mim and Magic are the exception, and she chases and bullies Magic horribly.

Tho I think he likes this.

At 23:41 Blogger Lyndyn said...

(Sorry - I'm getting my leopards mixed up! =o)

One thing about fostering is that it can burn you the heck out, you know? It is hands down one of the most rewarding things and also one of the hardest things that I have ever done.

It goes beyond cleaning up the pee and the gack, goes beyond trying to bridge the communication barrier between the four legged and the two legged that all of us who choose to live with them face. For me, hands down, the hardest part was letting them go - taking a chance on another human to love them and make the best choices.

That wears on a body...and preys on the mind. I had about 35 goldens come through my house over about 4 years...most of them just delightful goldens (the dolphin of dogs.) But even the easy ones were such a responsibility - its that trust thing. Most of them trusted me on sight - the ones who had to ease into it, though...those were the the Duffster.

Right now, I have a full house - four cats, two dogs - I'm out of the foster biz, for the moment, too. Maybe, your job right now is to do what you can for these little leopards that have been dealt to you?

I understand about Lear being bonded to would be a very, very tough call to split them up...and a risk...

All I know about Bengals I've learned here - I think they are pretty far spaced on the spectrum from goldens! :) And these early gens are tricksy indeed!

Have you had a chance to spend some time at the sanctuary yet?

At 23:51 Blogger Lyndyn said...


At 23:57 Blogger Beez said...

This is a hard one. The thing that comes to my mind and heart here is that you made a promise to him, and I think you would rip your own heart out if you ever felt you betrayed him.

So, maybe you are out of the foster business, at least for now. If the sanctuary is truly one, I can't think that they would separate them. If they take both it's a good option. If not, maybe the Royals are Home now.

Dear Lorraine, even if you aren't fostering in your own house, you have still helped others and can continue to do so, because you are a communicator and have built a huge network of people who you would still be helping for the many.

Okay, just my (rather long) opinion.

Lyndyn, goldens are the dolphins? Perfect description. When we move into the new house I am going to RAGOM to see if there's a golden who wants us to be it's people.

At 00:06 Blogger Lyndyn said...

Beez: Cool!! I bet you will find one.

PS: Don't know if you have dealt with rescue groups before? Go in with a thick skin - they will ask you tons of questions (some of which might offend you.) They will ask for references, prob. Try not to take the whole process personally - they are just trying to find the right home for the pooches.

Let me know how it goes! :)

At 00:08 Blogger FabulousLorraine said...

Thanks Beez, you have the heart of it. And thank you Lyndon too, you are right.

When I went to get Lear, there was a moment, he was so scared, and so lost, but I tossed a shrimp the guy gave me, and Lear was so hungry he ate it, with such dignity, and I lost my heart to the guy, can't be explained exactly, he was just so alone, but trying his best.

He's been trying his best ever since. And he trusts me. Ain't going to happen again for the guy.

I don't think it is in me to betray that sort of love.

At 00:08 Blogger Lyndyn said...

Lorraine...I keep coming back to Desiderata (yes - I will confess to Fiends that I really AM that sappy!)

"Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should."

At 00:12 Blogger Lyndyn said...

Ok...that shrimp story just made me tear up...

Dude...I think you are one of those special people come with a bonus of 5 bengals. More than a little bit cool, really...

At 00:17 Blogger FabulousLorraine said...

Thanks Lyndon. I try. Even if I am not sure what I am doing exactly.

At 00:18 Anonymous CJ :) aka the crazy cocker lady said...

Lorraine, like you said - you know the answer. It's the same answer that I gave myself and why I am sitting here trying to type this with a 13 year old chronically ill cocker spaniel climbing on me.

Sometimes fostering is short term, other times it's long term. VERY long term.

My groomer calls me a foster failure - of course, she is the same. We both take the old, ill, blind, deaf, crippled, etc... dogs and wind up either keeping them because no one wants a 12 year old dog with colitis and a heart murmur, or we have them as fosters a long time because you have to wait for the right home.

And sometimes they are in the right home when they are carried through your door.

At 00:19 Blogger Lyndyn said...

I'm mostly improvising as fast as I can. =o) Keeps one on one's toes!

At 00:21 Blogger Beez said...

It's all pretty much like motherhood.

*looks fondly at her 3 fur-kids*

At 00:25 Blogger vampi said...

quiche, your heart is amazing. this is why fiends say "stayed for the quiche" really you have made such a difference already. you have educated many of us about bengals. when animals are in need we help spread the word. the twitter army that found a ride for that last bengal was yet another feat of "quicheness". some fiends have even started fostering bengals following your lead.

your influence is awesome, in every sense of the word.

just the way you write about the royals, i can tell they know they found a great love in you.

At 00:29 Blogger Fluffy said...

Oh, God. I'm so sad for you and the cats. I need to stop sniffling and join the family - I'll re-read and come back tomorrow to see if I can add anything of value.

Hang in there. We'll help you if you need it - you know that.

At 00:45 Anonymous Anonymous said...

I usually lurk here, but given that I'm currently -- permanently-- fostering kitties I thought I'd have for a month or two, I need to comment.

They say "you can't save everybody" and it's true. But you can save one. If you love Lear and think that you could continue to love him and Mab, then he is home now. You take time off from the fostering and you give him what you (and he) wants. BUT, if you think you'd resent him, for keeping you from other kitties -- then that is an answer too. You need to look at how you would feel about the future -- with an without him.

I think sometimes a foster mom keeping or switching to a "permanent" home for a foster is considered selfish -- and that thought it WRONG. It is not anyone's job to save all of the kitties, as much as we may want to. Loving a hard-to-love one AND knowing that you want that kitty around, is a gift you both share and that can't ever be a bad thing.

I hope your heart allows you to make a decision on what you and Lear want for both you -- if you listen to what's best, you'll do what you need to.

At 00:55 Blogger Kate said...

As far as separating them goes, I wouldn't separate human siblings (even though Mab & Lear aren't, the bond you describe is good enough for me to think that way).

If there is no better place for Lear than with you, I think you're better giving him the best than potentially backing down on that promise so you can help others. You promised to help all that you can, right? As long as Lear needs you, you're helping him all you can. You'll still help others, but in different ways. You're giving Lear time, and I think that's the best thing you can give anyone who doesn't trust.

Since I know nothing about sanctuaries (in my mind it sounds like Kitty Heaven, in practice I suspect it may be more like a boarding kennel), the only suggestion that I might have would be to find him an adopter-in-training? Someone willing to come for supervised visits and learning everything you do with him in the hopes that he may bond, but who also that it may never happen at all. That sounds like the impossible, though.

If any option seems like a step down, I wouldn't take it, because you'll be unhappy, even as you help others.

At 01:02 Blogger Lyndyn said...

I know...splitting them up would be a hard, hard call with no guarantee that it would help. This is actually something that they do with real human siblings, sometimes, that go into the foster care system. Sometimes, for both of them to achieve their best, they have to go to different homes - usually because one has specialized therapeutic needs due to abuse and the other one doesn't.

(Obviously, with human children, some kind of contact can be maintained - though, not always...)

Don't know if this would help Mab and Lear or not...

At 01:03 Blogger rayvyn2k said...

Another mostly lurker coming out of the woodwork...

I agree with the others that you may already know your answer. Also, that just because you don't foster in your home for the foreseeable future doesn't mean you can't still help. You have a huge following, not to mention a pretty popular boss who can call on his own minions, so you have a surprisingly loud interweb voice with which to holler for help when needed.

You amaze me daily with everything you do, so I know you will find a way to continue to save the Bengals-even if it's not in your own home.

At 01:06 Blogger Bridget said...

Oh, poor, dear Lear. Sometimes they will only bend so far, our babies, and it sounds (and looks) like Lear is simply not willing to bend any further at this point. And what would Mab be like without him? Such a risk to separate them, and not only for him.

Your heart will guide you, I know. Perhaps like Beez said, he has decided he and Mab are home - and just because you would not be in the foster biz for awhile doesn't mean you aren't helping. You continue to help so much, and not just for Bengals. I'm thinking of Hope and her little ones.

There's always a way.

Who knows - you could find the right sanctuary. Or in a year, or two, the very right person might come along who he simply *knows* is OK. Lear strikes me as a gentleman who makes a decision, and will not be swayed. He trusts or he doesn't, and that is all, end of story.

I also wonder if he will relax any more once - should this be your choice - once he *knows* that they are staying and are no longer fosters. They know these things, I suspect. He will know once the decision has been made.

Many hugs for you and Janet. This is a tough one.

At 01:08 Blogger Lyndyn said...

True, Rayvyn...

I guess sometimes you pick up a starfish and it happens to be a really heavy, shrimp loving one and instead of throwing him back into the sea you give him his own scream porch.

At 01:13 Blogger AletaMay said...

Just a ticky box because I just don't know what to say at this point. Except, of course, that your heart is good Quiche.

At 01:40 Blogger Fluffy said...

Read on Twitter that Hope's last kitten has a home! Hurrah!

I hope things seem better in the morning - or later today, in fact. If not, we're still here and we'll do what we can. And since we're so darn fabulous that could be a lot!

At 01:41 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, Lorraine, I don't envy you the choice you're making, even if it sounds like your heart made the choice for you.

You're a PA and a cat foster mom! Neither of those job descriptions include, "just give up on stuff." You wouldn't be doing the things you are doing if you didn't have a strong sense of honor and commitment, and I think that's incredibly laudable.

I think you've helped The Many just by being vocal and rational and the antithesis of a stereotypical crazy cat-fostering lady. Now it's our job, as those who have listened, to help The Many while you figure out what the next step for you is going to be.

At 01:44 Blogger Precision Grace said...

Can't woodsman hans build them an enclosure in the garden? (or maybe you don't have a garden?) I think he'd be happiest left the heck alone with minimal human interaction. You can't make a pet out of every wild animal.

I don't think you can re-home Lear, not at this stage and not when he has bonded with Mab if he would have to be split up.

Maybe, if you resign yourself to keeping him forever, he will have proper reason to relax and will improve in leaps and bounds like Magic has?

It's tough choice, especially if you want to keep fostering but maybe this is a call to change strategy and do a different approach to Bengal rescue (but what, I don't know - maybe writing a website on how Bengals should be treated?)

Good luck to you and the cats!

At 02:04 Anonymous Rachel said...

Oh gods, he's beautiful! And yes, I am talking about that cornered, hissing creature... he's still beautiful, and it breaks my heart to see an animal suffering purely because of ignorant breeders.

Only thing I can think of is trying one of those animal behavioural specialists? I'm sure you already long since thought of that.

I really hope you manage to find somewhere/one for him. Or preferably them: it would seem potentially a final straw to split him from Mab?

Wish I could think of something more helpful. Can only send virtual hugs and every good thought for a happier solution being found.

At 02:05 Blogger Tamlyn Leigh said...

Am sitting here with tears in my eyes over Lear. I think that you have found your own answer in your post, though. You got Lear to trust you, to get pet by you, you are his one human he doesn't feel like hissing at, as he shows in the picture.

Having two females whom he feels comfortable with, you and his queen, is such an amazing change for a boy who has been seriously abused in his life.

So maybe you can't foster anymore, but you have been given a chance to truly earn the trust and truly help heal two early generation bengals, and show them that there is love and kindness and generosity in this world.

And maybe, one time or another, he might be so far as to trust someone else in the room. For now, you are his human. He chose to be with you as much as you with him. I think that you know the answer to your question, Lorraine :)

At 02:21 Anonymous JenT said...

A long time ago, a silly television show about teenage models gave me one of my all time favorite quotes....

"what you think is the right thing to usually the right thing to do"

Trust yourself, trust the process.

At 02:56 Anonymous Lysandwr said...

Q--what Lyndyn said. And so many others. Because you already know what the right answer is, and mayhap just need a little external ..confirmation?... that it *is* the right path. Look, even in the middle of all of this--you rescued Hope and Kittens!! So you aren't going to suddenly cease being the Princess of Make it Happen for Bengals just because you personally don't have any more rooms at the inn.

Hugs, of course, because even considering all of this has to be so painful for you.

Last thought--separating their Highnesses will not make himself more willing to bond with new humans. (IMHO) It more likely would make him regress in trust. He doesn't need to *lose* his support system right now.

But You already know this, I think.
Okay, back to the salt mines (hey, folks! ever wonder how you have so much mail after a holiday? Because it is STILL BEING MOVED ACROSS THE COUNTRY while you are watching fireworks :))

Big hugs, again, and much love to your Spooky Home.

At 04:19 Blogger Madeline Carol Matz said...

This must be so stressful! *hugs*
I think if the choice is between the King and continuing fostering more cats, I do think King Lear should stay with you. None of the other options are any good for him & I can't imagine that you would feel very good about yourself for sending him away. As you said, he trusts you.
I think fostering with the intent of finding him another home may actually effect, ever so slightly, the relationship between the two of you. He may be picking up on his transient position.
Perhaps, by keeping him and foregoing any new fosters, he will sense the new permanence and come around a bit more - perhaps not - but I think taking care of an extremely difficult cat with no other happy options is serving the greater good.
Other loving people can handle the easier rescue cases.
You are a goddess of goodness. You can move mountains and rescue luggage.
Much is expected from such greatness.
Carry on...

At 04:23 Blogger spacedlaw said...

Poor Lear. I feel so sorry for scaring him up that way. I hope he still comes out for you and that the picture session did not break that bond you guys had.

I would think these two need each other (the two lost orphans picture comes to mind) where the can lick each other ears for comfort and support. She might be doing okay without him but he'd be so lost without his one stable point of contact with the outside world.
As to wether you need to keep them or send them to a sanctuary, I would say it would depend very much on the sanctuary itself.
If the place is not one you would gladly place a kitty - let alone two - with, you might have to keep them with you, which, yes, might rather put a stop to the fostering activity for the time being. But these guys need saving too and you can't save them all.
There's hoping that your dedication can also help finding foster homes for future kitties.

Little girly grey ghost got adopted too?
That is GREAT news. Mim and Venus will be thrilled to get their own porch back, although I hope Mims continues to visit Magic, because I think this is good for him, helps him socialize and seeing a happy house kitty is a good proof to him that not all humans suck. And he is curious. That's also very good.

At 06:18 Blogger Unknown said...

This feels a bit like suggesting that the dynamite be stored next to the flamethrowers, but would it be possible for Lear and Mab to hang out with Magic? It seems like they have similar issues . . .

At 06:19 Blogger Lioness said...

I was reading all these comments and think that I have nothing earthshattering wise to add. But it did occur to me that when you took Lear in, you wanted him to learn to trust. And he did. But if trusting you is as far as he can go, then I think your work is not done with him.
A tough tough decisions. My sympathies.

At 06:49 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not easy decisions, any of them. Is there an option of you keeping him? What are the barriers to you keeping him? Space, finance, time, all of these?

Since the $5 thing I've been wondering if there isn't some way we could have a Bengal fund to help with finances. Could you keep Lear and have someone "adopt" him in a virtual way? (she said hopefully!)

At 06:49 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not easy decisions, any of them. Is there an option of you keeping him? What are the barriers to you keeping him? Space, finance, time, all of these?

Since the $5 thing I've been wondering if there isn't some way we could have a Bengal fund to help with finances. Could you keep Lear and have someone "adopt" him in a virtual way? (she said hopefully!)

At 08:07 Blogger Lyndyn said...

:) I feel like a bad guy for suggesting that it might help to split them up. :) I probably wouldn't have the heart to do it, myself, but, I don't know much about the Tribe of Leopard...

How does Mab seem? Is she happy with the status quo? Cause, of course, it isn't just one Bengal that you are making decisions for here - so doubly tough! Do you think that Mab is still searching? Or does she feel home? about you...are 5 too many in the long run? Is it doable? or is it exhausting you? I know with 4 regular cats - its a lot of work and I imagine that it is compounded with your wild things.

I had a few fosters where I was so relieved when I finally DID find their forever home and that it WASN'T me. I used to feel guilty about this, but then I got over it and decided it was ok.

There is a reason that during an emergency on planes that they tell you to put the oxygen mask on yourself first before trying to help someone else. :)

PS: damn this is a fine cup of coffee!

At 09:42 Blogger bengalgirl said...

You fiends are wonderful and have such wonderful advice. Even though I knew this blog was coming doesn't stop me from crying reading it. This part of rescue is pretty horrible. I agree with so much that you have all said, I think Lear might be home at least for a while longer and while I will miss Lorraine fostering I really don't want to over-burden her, both with time and money. It is easy to say I'll just add 2 othr cats to my own crew but it means Vet care, food, litter, building screamed porches, etc. I don't want her to feel that she was "stuck" with the hard-to-place cats which we all know is true. I think he could probably find another home and would eventually be to the point he is now but it would take the same kind of person as Lorraine who would make the same committment. I have trouble finding the right adopters for our cats with no problems. I don't know the answers, and I won't make decisions without Lorraine's approval so maybe we will be in a holding pattern for a while. I have had a couple people call or email me about adopting the Royals, however, even with my list of restrictions people sometimes just don't get it and think in their house he would be fine. I'm not sure how to advertise them without scaring someone to death but on the other hand he isn't a pussycat. This is the link to the sanctuary if you want to take a peak.

At 09:45 Blogger Jane said...

My heart goes out to you and Lear.

After catching up with the comments it seems like there is a common theme, that maybe fostering at your house could be on hold for a while and Lear will have his permanent home.

But only you and Lear can decide what comes next. So hard, life.

At 09:46 Blogger Ani said...

Heartbreaking, Q. I'm so sorry you're facing such decisions. Just one thing I want to speak to right now: please do not torture yourself with your "Sophie's Choice" of saving the one vs saving many.

I work in hunger relief, and there are many hungry people out there. We can't feed them all. We can't even get a lot of them the kind of good food they need to be healthy. I work with so many people who are tearing their hair out trying to meet the need, feeling that they have failed when they can't feed everyone who comes to them for help.

What I tell them is that they are not responsible for meeting everyone's needs, just for doing their honest best to help.

Yes, we need to care. Yes, we can help. Yes, we should help. AND we can only do what we have the resources for, be they money, time, energy, caring...all the things it takes.

There is no failure, there is no betrayal in doing what you can for whom you can.


At 10:11 Blogger Beez said...

I have to say, the sanctuary looks like a wonderful place.

I'm pretty sure you know the Royals are home, but if you or Janet ever find that you will be using the sanctuary, perhaps fiends and others could sponsor the cat/. It wouldn't take much from each of us- kind of like the "Five for Hope".

At 10:15 Blogger Phiala said...

That is the downside of fostering, certainly. I have faith that you are equipped to deal with it. I don't know what the solution will be, but none of the options are easy. Many people have already said insightful things.

This does make me want to run away from home, move to MN, and adopt them. (Kind of like running away from home to join the circus, but with smaller cats.)

At 10:19 Blogger rayvyn2k said...

What Andrea said. Please don't torture yourself--whatever decision you make.

At 10:20 Blogger One Sock Short said...

I've come late to this thread, but it sounds like an answer is starting to form. The sanctuary might be good if they took Mab too. Maybe they would consider it since their bond is so tight. Otherwise, Lear and Mab may well be in their forever home already.

Whatever you decide, I don't think anyone could ever say that you've failed Lear and Mab. Not when you've done so much already. But I do know that your own heart may tell you so, even if others don't. Ani's post addresses those feelings so well.

If it turns out that you can no longer foster because your house stays full, I think you will still be making a difference in other cats' lives just by being such a wonderful example. You have already raised awareness of the special plight of the Bengals. Your example could lead to other people deciding to foster who wouldn't have thought of it before. So really you would still be fighting the good fight.

At 10:27 Blogger Andi said...

Not an easy decision -- which I know from a similar experience. After ten years as an animal rescue volunteer, during which time we've fostered well over a hundred cats and kittens, my husband and I decided to adopted two of our fosters earlier this year, which put us at six resident cats and means no more fostering for the time being. But we were the right home for Solomon and Whateley, the home they needed for a number of reasons, and I haven't regretted that decision even once.

But even though we can't foster right now, we still help save hundreds of homeless pets by volunteering with our rescue group in other ways. ARFP is an all-volunteer group, which means it needs volunteers to handle administrative tasks; maintain our website; return calls to people who are interested in adopting or who need to find a home for a pet; write, layout, and distribute our newsletter; set up & tear down at adoption events; talk to the public at events; take pictures of our adoptable pets to put on the web -- the list goes on. Fostering is one way to help save homeless pets, but it is by no means the only way. So if your decision is to keep King Lear, please know that there are still many ways you can help.

At 10:33 Blogger EmilyLady said...

I'm afraid I can think of nothing to say in response to this. I hate knowing he is out of options. I don't know enough about Bengals to suggest anything ...

So you all know, I will be gone for the next week; you shall all have to do without me.

At 10:35 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unlurking a moment to say...

To me, this is the nut of the matter:

Where can Lear have the best quality of life?

Lorraine, thank you for all you do on behalf of the furred ones.

Oh, and when we listen with our hearts, our beloved four-leggeds tell us what they want.

Peace and love,

At 10:41 Blogger dabbler said...

Sitting here with a full heart, so moved by the difficulty of loving...beings.
How much of ourselves do we give up for those we love? How do we choose one good over another? How do we figure out what we need (loving ourselves) and what they need, and how to balance the energy (time, money, pleasure/pain). I think the answer is different every time, and different over time.

As Ani said, you can't feed them all. And you can't feed them all you have and leave yourself to starve. Not sustainable.
So follow your heart, Q, but remember to keep yourself in your heart as well, whatever that may mean.

At 10:42 Blogger spacedlaw said...

Cesare had one look at my pictures of Lear and said this was no home kitty cat but a wild beast and he should be better let out to fend for himself in the wild. Not sure this is practical, but at least the sanctuary place looks like a good one.

At 10:49 Blogger Lyndyn said...

I've been reading all the stories of the cats big and not so big that live at the sanctuary...and crying. It looks like an awesome place. They all look well cared for and content and - based on reading the memorials of the ones that have gone on - well loved indeed.

I would def. be up for helping to sponsor The Royals if you decide that that is the place where they might have the best quality of life.

Thinking about your Royals has made me think of Christian - you've probably all seen the video on youtube - the story of the lion that was purchased at Harrod's department store as a kitten, raised in a garden in England and then finally, because his humans loved him, resettled in a sanctuary in (I think) Africa.

If you haven't seen it - look for it on youtube. He settles in beautifully to his new wild home, but, when years later his humans come to visit, he remembers them and obviously still loves them.

At 11:12 Blogger FabulousLorraine said...

Morning! And thank you for all the comfort and words! It means a lot to me.

If we found them another home, it would HAVE to be the right one. And Janet is right, it would take a long time to get him to the point he is now, and I don't at all have a guarantee he could go further.

I don' mind the hard cases, someone needs to and I am good at it.

If I keep them, yes, I can still help without fostering, but I'm not sure keeping them is the best thing for him, me or the other Bengals.

And what about Mab?

Hard calls.

At 11:24 Blogger Precision Grace said...

This was probably done way back when, but I'm thinking, is it worth pressing on Boss to use his massive fan base to reach potential adopters - i.e. one more try? It does have to be someone like you, and let's face it, there can't be many people around that fit that description!

Have you tried separating Mab and Lear at home for a few days to see how they cope? (just an idea probably a crazy one)

At 11:52 Blogger FabulousLorraine said...

Been reading on the Sanctuary. My heart feels. And people send them there for peeing outside the box and on counters? Heck, peeing on the counter is Mim's best trick!

She shot the curtain a good one yesterday. One keeps paper towels and washes the curtain.Pee I can deal with.

And Magic is to the point where he thinks pee BELONGS on the futon. (Waterproofed for this reason)

Magic loves me tho, Lear tolerates me, and trusts me not to hurt him.

I don't know. Just don't know what to do for him.

At 12:02 Blogger vampi said...

maybe visit the sanctuary and talking to them will help your decision.

you have to keep in mind he trusts you to do what is best for him, what ever that may be.

At 12:03 Blogger Marjorie said...

Sometimes you just have to do the thing that is nearest, and let the other possible futures take care of themseles.even if that means you can't foster others for a while. If there is a sanctuary which will take Mab & Lear that would be great, but it may be that you are that sanctuary for them

Also, it truly sucks about the gig being cancelled so late - you should definitely get paid

At 12:17 Blogger Precision Grace said...

I am surprised whenever I hear of cats peeing anywhere other than the litterbox/outside.

We were looking after this little cat in Berkley for a few days and were warned she pees everywhere and is likely to hide and not be seen while we were there. As we were supposed to be staying there, we were quite worried about being peed on, let me tell you. lol

But when we got there, it took the cat one night to feel comfortable enough to come out and then she was having cuddles and even fell asleep on bf's tummy when he crashed on the sofa for half an hour. She never peed anywhere other than the litter box but then I did clean it in the morning and afternoon and even emptied it and washed it out thoroughly because it was disgusting (I think her owner, an academic, forgets to clean it out quite a lot and probably never washed out the box). Little kitty was a delight and seemed quite sad when we had to say goodbye.

We did have one incident once, it was when Tonks was confined due to injury and Mr Mario was accidentally shut in part of the house with him. For some reason, Mario refused to use the litter box that was left upstairs for Tonks and had a poo on the stone at the foot of the fireplace - the easiest place to clean and there were ashes there too which disguised the smell - so her was being really considerate, considering. Poor thing. He probably did it there as a sign of protest for being shut in the house.

Anyway, just thought I'd share some cat stories, not that any of it helps with Lear and Mab :(

One thing that might help - it has taken almost 4 years for our Louie to relax enough around us to be considered a normal cat. He has always been so skittish and untrusting (he as Mario is a rescue) and only since Mario has disappeared has he become more cuddly and hangs around the house more whereas before he'd just go out for ages or hide somewhere to sleep in peace (although he always loved bf and slept by his feet)
And while he can still be grumpy with the tabbies, he does tolerate them much better these days.
Sometimes, it just takes a very very long time and consistent affection and care..

At 12:25 Blogger bengalgirl said...

I have not contacted the Sanctuary to see if they are even open to taking him. I know they have a lot of cats, big and little, and am not sure if there is a waiting list or other policy. Some of the bengals/EG's there belonged to a bengal breeder and they took the cats in a few years ago. I'm sure that if they could take Lear they would also take Mabs as they have taken domestics that come with an exotic. As long as the two have each other they will probably be fine anywhere as long as Mabs is ok with minimum human contact. I'm also not sure if they would get their own place or have to fit in with the general society of bengals. I also do not know anyone who has been there before, websites can be anything the web designer wants them to be, doesn't mean the facility is exactly the same.

At 12:39 Blogger Precision Grace said...

Also, I feel that some sort of re-education of cat owners is very necessary. I always try and re-educate my mum a little bit when I visit. Originally, she didn't feed her cat anything other than dry cat food. The first thing cat told me was could I get him please some of the nice wet food that other cat's get. So I did. Now Mum buys him tins and he gets some every day.
Then, there is the issue of cat flap but my stepdad is relentless and will not back down. Luckily, they are at home a lot and cat gets access outside whenever he wants when they are home.
Then, I was appalled to learn that Mum doesn't vaccinate him yearly nor does she give him flea and worming treatments regularly. We;ve had a chat and we've done the flea treatment on him together and she promised to get the worming tablets because he does catch an occasional mouse.

We need to impress on the cat owners that they need to treat their cats as if they were their kids, not some sort of half-object that can be neglected when convenient. (mind you, the way some people treat their kids...)

Errr. OK, I'll be getting off the soap box now. Pwomise.

*red face*

At 13:13 Blogger Jess said...

Oh dear. This is a tough decision. :( It does seem important that he not be separated from Mab, and I'm glad we're not even talking about putting him down. He's a healthy cat and he hasn't attacked anyone. There's no real reason to think about that.

I think I'm with Nathalie on the point that whether or not he'll be happy in the sanctuary depends on the sanctuary. But: F2 though he may be, he's been living in houses all his life, and a single room for the last however-many months. A sanctuary with other cats may be just as stressful for him as a new home with people.

I think the thing to remember, too, is that he's just had a very stressful week: a new lady kept bring food into his territory; then a bunch of us were standing around talking in his territory at once. He's not used to that. The point being that I see a cat who feels threatened in that picture, and wants New Lady to back off-- but I don't see an agressive cat who can only live a sanctuary-type existence. And if he can trust you, and will come out and play when you're there...

Maybe he just needs more time. Keep him with you, if that's the best place-- but be open to possibilties. Things may change now that all the strangers are gone. Look at Magic: he's turned out to be so sweet and curious, and seems to like to watch people and talk to them, if not get too close; he also likes Venus and Mim. We never expected any of that out of him, but it turns out he just needed time to get there. Having some extra space to roam really seemed to help him along, too. Maybe finding a way to give Lear and Mab a little more space to roam might be a good answer? Because they're very curious kitties, too. They came straight to the window later on, to see what we were up to.

Of course, I remember you also said that you wanted your guest room back. :/ I dunno. Win the lottery and build an extension? Heh.

I'm sure you'll find a way. You always do. You're a good Cat Guardian. :)

At 14:45 Blogger Fluffy said...

Andrea, how did you get so wise? Your words on doing what you can made me cry, too. I'm going to save and print it.

I lurve you guys.

At 18:00 Blogger Precision Grace said...

BTW what is a definition of Too Wild? My mum's cat (who btw adores me) still hisses at and scratches anyone who makes a wrong move. We still love him. Someone might still love Lear too and vice versa. (stranger things have happened)

At 19:51 Blogger gaypet said...

If the sanctuary is "as advertised" it looks great! Just remember that you are not betraying a trust if you do what is best for him. And you. And the others waiting. Good luck!

At 20:58 Blogger Whims said...

Oh, that breaks my heart. I've made promises like that to my ("normal") cats and I cry whenever I hear of others having to give up their pets for one reason or another.

But you promised him you would make it OK, and sometimes that means making the tough choice of letting go. I hope the sanctuary might be a good choice for him.

And, oh, many hugs because I would certainly be a complete wreck in your position.

At 22:09 Blogger AletaMay said...

The sanctuary is near my hometown. It was not there when I was... but I might be able to find out if I have any local connections that know anything significant about it.

Looking into it does no harm. It just opens up options, which is always a good thing.

At 22:34 Anonymous said...

Nothing I can say that hasn't already been said. And like Fluffy and Uisge, Andrea's post made me tear right up.

I know you'll make the right decision Lorraine, but I won't pretend it's not hard.:/

At 22:36 Blogger FabulousLorraine said...

Last call for the Royals.

New post up....

At 08:09 Anonymous Marla said...

Well, crud. Wish I knew what do advise...

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