Saturday, July 2, 2011

Lear, Mab and What Happened Before...

I recently got a letter from King Lear The Huge and Little Queen Mab's original owner, which affected me greatly. I wanted to share it. It's a lesson about being young, about adopting pets, facing many difficulties and how it, years later, it never quite leaves you. It's about wanting to do the right thing and how even with the best intentions, you end up unable to.

It's about growing up.

They're safe, my dear, and loved. And just as you remember them.

Here's the letter, and pictures she sent:

Hi Lorraine,

My name is ***, and I am the original owner of Queenie and Lear. I really apologize for this long email. I have to say that, ever since I gave them up for adoption (along with their massive collection of toys,, I was too afraid to look them up online because I was too afraid that they may not have found a nice family, or couldn't adjust to new fosters/owners because they were too loyal (especially Lear). There's not been a single week when I didn't think about them since. I still remember that the day they drove away from me, I felt numb and a little bit 'dead'.
Big Lear is fiercely loyal. He came from what I assume to be an abusive situation, and took to me immediately when I brought him home. I was originally going to adopt only Queenie from the breeder, but couldn't leave Lear when I saw that he was being ignored and somewhat 'abused' because the breeder couldn't find a buyer for a grown up cat like him. The condition was horrific in that breeder's house - I felt more like I was rescuing them rather than buying them. Lear has a huge heart - he would reprimand me for half a day until he would finally come to me and give me his signature 'head butt' on my forehead, which is like an "I love you" that really hurts because that boy has a thick skull. Queenie was always the prissy, quiet girl protected by you probably know by now.

Because they are especially curious and energetic cats, I remember making a lot of interactive 'foraging' toys for them, and even considered buying/building a cat treadmill wheel for them. I had adopted these cats when I was living with an ex boyfriend in a big apartment, but when we split, I moved into the teeniest studio. This was horrible for these cats - they were always just sitting around, not able to run (more like zoom) around everywhere anymore. I built this tunnel maze system for them which took up the entire studio floor, but that wasn't enough to keep them amused. They needed a wide open space. This...was the biggest reason for my letting go of them in hopes that they would find a bigger home with as much loving care as I could give them. The problem, of course, was that I couldn't find a single way to console the way I felt about letting them go because they were perfect to me.
After they were given up for adoption, I went through a horrific time - I was in college, and was diagnosed with lymphoma soon after letting the kitties go. I wouldn't have had the money nor an immune system to allow for Queenie and Lear to live with me. Because of this, I feel that the timing was fortunate for them to part ways with me, but they're a part of me that I really can't ever forget. Especially Lear. After I beat cancer, I started fostering cats and still do.

Today is an odd day. My fiancee and I are soon moving to White Plains, NY, for medical school, and I'll be working as a market analyst - my first 'real' job since graduation. I suppose I was thinking about how I could afford a stable living situation for an animal once again, and plucked up the courage to look up what happened to Queenie and Lear - with heart racing, hoping, wishing... Imagine my surprise when I found that you have an entire blog dedicated partially to them...and pictures...oh, how they look just the same!!!

I apologize sincerely for writing such a long, intimate letter to a stranger, but you've been caring for my dear cats for so long, and it really looks like things couldn't have been better for them. I miss them entirely too much, and I really hope one day that I can see them again. Most importantly, I hope you know how thankful I am for you.

Best wishes, ****

Love and Lessons,


At 09:59 Blogger vampi said...


very moving letter.

At 10:06 Anonymous MsIrishGypsy said...

That made me cry. I hope she'll be able to see them again someday. I know I had to give up a dog many, many years ago, and he still lives in my heart. I'm sure he had a great life as I handpicked his owner, but I do still think of him. I just moved about 900 miles away recently. My father suggested giving up my cats to make the move easier. NO WAY! I know what that feels like. Besides, they are Bengals and I made a commitment to them. We are all very happy and still together. They didn't love the drive, but they love the new house. :) Thanks, as always, for sharing.

At 10:09 Blogger Cecily said...

And tears.

At 10:17 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tears. Thank you for sharing.
Holly S.

At 10:20 Anonymous Kate said...

Lovely, lovely - thank you again for opening your heart and home and world to these beautiful cats.

At 10:23 Blogger Marjorie said...

Great to know where they started, and how wonderful for their first owner to know, after so long, that they are safe and loved.

At 10:33 Blogger Beez said...

Heart-warming and heart-rending at the same time.

At 10:44 Blogger Jane said...

OMG. Sometimes the universe amazes me - how things happen, how they turn out. Thanks so much for sharing this.

At 10:46 Blogger Vinity said...

Aw :) I'm in tears. Glad the situation worked out.

At 11:06 Anonymous Anonymous said...

This made me burst into tears. Beautiful letter -- and it's nice to have a firsthand account of their prior story.

Thanks for sharing this, Q. ~Ali

At 11:56 Blogger Pi R Squared said...

Tears and coffee. Thanks for posting this letter. Thanks for being there for Mab and Lear and the other leopards too!

At 12:09 Blogger Cathy Lopez said...

And here is me, trying not to cry into my ramen. I can't imagine being brave enough to give up my kitties. I hope that I could, if it came to them needing a new home, but ... I don't know. She is kind and brave and strong, and it's wonderful that she was able to find them and their story. Thank you, Lorraine, for giving them such a good home. You're kind and brave and strong, too. Hugs for everyone!

At 12:25 Anonymous Morgawse said...

That made me cry. And is the most happy-making thing I've seen all week at the same time.

At 12:34 Blogger DataGoddess said...

*sniff* I hope at some point she's able to come meet all of your bengals, Q.


At 13:08 Blogger Marjorie said...

I wonder if they would recognise her voice, if you skyped with her?

At 13:35 Anonymous AmyK said...

That's beautiful. I admit I've sometimes wondered why owners give up great pets. I, would uncharitably, think "Oh they're lazy...they don't want the upkeep." But the truth is often very different. I gave up a dog (to my parents) because I was moving to an apartment that didn't allow pets. Since then I've been more understanding. I feel for the woman who gave up her cats.

At 15:14 Anonymous kali_licious said...

Awwww. Making me all teary. I do hope she can visit sometime.

At 16:13 Blogger LihuaEmily said...

Wow! Amazing! It's funny how beautifully, and how oddly, things in life can turn out ... isn't it?

At 16:33 Blogger Fluffy said...

Aw. That is so moving. It's nice to hear about their earlier lives and that they were loved. And the best part is that she was able to see that they have a great life with lots of love and care.

And I've been reading about your workouts - Ms. Quiche, you are rocking your life! Amazing. I'm inspired that you are working so hard on yourself. You've always put so much time and energy into taking care of others.

At 17:44 Blogger Bridget said...

Woah, look at that tl;dr, she's a big one!

I'll never forget the day I took in Tiger from his first owners. Three cats, three young kids in a small apartment, one who had developed severe allergies and asthma, an uncontrollable amount of cat hair and dander... the mother was heartbroken, but didn't feel like she had any other choice.

The day I picked him up was traumatizing for everyone. This stranger, this good woman who was trying to do the best thing she could for him and her family, was trying not to break down (and failing spectacularly). We hugged hard and I told her ANY TIME she or the kids wanted to visit him, they were welcome. She'd warned her (adorable) children in advance what was happening. We'd decided mutually that I probably shouldn't stay long - she was afraid if we made it a lengthy goodbye to him she wouldn't be able to, and we didn't want to traumatize the kids. But the kids were far better with it than she or I were - they helped catch him (he didn't like to be held), they each kissed him 'bye and waved and were calling out "Bye, Tiger! We love you! We'll miss you!" as I headed out the door with this terrified, wailing, howling cat, in tears myself.

Even worse, Tiger had a brother, Oscar, who he'd been with since birth. We were separating them at 3 years old. She'd originally planned to give up both of them and keep the third cat. Tiger was lowest of three cats on the feline pecking order, Oscar was the Alpha, and I already had an Alpha cat, so we figured T. would be the best match for our home (he was perfect). When I talked to her a week or two later, she told me she'd decided not to give up Oscar. She just couldn't. It was too hard. She'd clean more. Anything but that. The poor, dear woman.

I never heard from her again. I know they were planning to move, and I asked her to get in touch once she had, but I never received their forwarding address. So much of his personality came from before we had him. I wish I could let them know what a fantastic, long, happy life he had (he passed 18 months ago at 17 years), and find out what happened to Oscar, and send her some pictures, and... you never know. Probably not, but you never know.

I hope Lear and Mab's original owner can visit them and see them some day. And thank you for being there for them. I know becoming their "forever home" was a difficult choice, but you knew, somehow, that it was the right decision - and it was, for the reasons you knew about, and now apparently, for reasons you didn't even know about. That's... really something, isn't it?

At 17:58 Blogger Bridget said...

Also: ZOMG Lear and Mab kitten pics!! *love*

At 19:34 Blogger Kitty Cat said...

i will never ever forget the Shrimp Incident in Chicago!
gosh what year was that??
can't wait to see Lear and Mab (oh ok, and you too!!)
your karmic bank is full, lady.
xoxo love, me

At 21:59 Blogger FabulousLorraine said...

It was the shrimp that did it. I'd never seen a cat as alone as Lear was at that point, but he had such dignity, and was so unhappy...

All good now tho.

Except for the fact VENUS is still outside from an un-authorized screen popping incident. Hmmph. At least I got Magic in, Venus has claws and I'm not AS worried about her.

Can this day be done soon, been kind of a long one.

At 23:44 Blogger Dragonsally said...

Oh, what a wonderful letter, and it makes all the effort even more worthwhile -if that's possible.
I hope you've managed to get Venus in by now.

At 09:39 Blogger LihuaEmily said...

IT'S JACK'S BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yay!

At 10:27 Blogger FabulousLorraine said...

Venus came back and went straight to sleep, with NO BREAKFAST! Don't expect her to move today.

Magic is still yowling.

At 10:31 Blogger Cecily said...

Check for pods.

At 11:46 Blogger Chantrelle said...

I have had this on my screen to read, I wanted real timeand focus and still haven't gotten that....Quick comment for the ticky-box.

At 09:00 Blogger dabbler said...

Sniff! Beautiful all around. Glad Venus has made it back....

At 09:13 Blogger FabulousLorraine said...

Mornign all! Hope your weekend was a fine one. Worked here, but it was all good and we got a lot done.

First Derby Practice of the Season tonight! YES! So ready!

And hopefully this week, a new Cat House!

At 09:27 Blogger vampi said...

how exciting! i can't wait to see the new cathouse. but shouldn't we come up with a better name? Lady Mim's back yard escape? hmm, i'm not witty with the puns today, surely someone can come up with something better?

i'm about to leave on my great adventure to chicago and discword!*

onesockshort, i sent you a twit. i thought i had you on bookface, but i can't find you. gmail is vampiress if you want/can meet up :) or any other chicago fiends, same offer. <3 tonight, tomorrow night, or the 12th.


*well madison, wi for discworld con, same thing, right?

At 18:00 Blogger Dragonsally said...'re going to Discworld? envy. Enjoy.

And I'm going to put my thinking cap on now for a good name for cat run.

At 19:54 Blogger ariandalen said...

Well, the (ahem) cathouse could be dubbed "The Feline Fortress of Felicity."

Though "Mim's Pleasure Palace" does have a nice ring to it. ;)

At 09:46 Blogger FabulousLorraine said...

Just met with my builder on the Outdoor Cat Run! Going to be pretty darn cool! Basically, we're enclosing the yard, complete with roof!

It will have a tube running from the house, and climbing things and a pool and an indooor house.

I may move out there myself.

At 10:13 Blogger Cecily said...

I will reiterate me request for pictures as the building goes! I wanna see the progress. (A couple before pics might be good for posterity too)


At 10:45 Blogger FabulousLorraine said...

And the new post is UP!!!!

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