After being born with Manx syndrome, Tuck spent nearly three years in a Denver animal shelter. But now he's found a home with other cats just like him.

On one recent sunny Saturday, Denver's Rocky Mountain Feline Rescue (RMFR) looks a little different than normal. A barefoot musician is playing the guitar, a woman is reading runes, and happy people are chatting on lawn chairs, towels, and yoga mats. And Tuck, a green-eyed Manx cat and reason for the party, looks on from the catio.

Tuck came to RMFR in November 2018. After a few days he'd spent in a foster home, where he'd gone the entire time without using the litter box, a veterinary exam revealed the cause for his incontinence: Tuck had Manx syndrome. So finding the right home for Tuck, who can't wear diapers because they give him urinary tract infections, has been hard.

Small Cat, Big Personality

As one of the longest residents in RMFR's history, this little kitty who loves headbutts, jumping through Hula-Hoops, and high-fiving for treats has made a big impression.

"Tuck has been a special needs cat that has touched the hearts of everyone at RMFR," says Kelsey Bailey, RMFR's animal care manager. "He has been a cat to rally together for and brings a sense of togetherness to the staff and volunteers."

Tuck the cat lying on a cat bed outside on a sunny day
Tuck loves lounging outside in a specially designed catio.
| Credit: Courtesy Rocky Mountain Feline Rescue

"Tuck is not shy," says Naomi Lugo, RMFR board member and Tuck's former foster parent. "He loves headbutts and hanging out on your shoulders on a towel. He's such a charming kitty who loves attention from anyone."

But after two years, 10 months, and one adoption attempt later, Tuck was ready to begin a new life—one at a place designed for cats with disabilities just like his. The Colorado Companion Animal Sanctuary (CCAS), located in the Rocky Mountains about an hour from Tuck's kennel at RMFR, had formally invited Tuck to join the sanctuary. The move was cause for celebration, and the lovable kitty's fans were there to cheer him on ahead of the big move.

Finally, a Place of His Own

While staff at RMFR loved spending time with Tuck, keeping him indefinitely wasn't ideal—both for his needs and for the shelter's resources. The CCAS facility—with its specially designed space and free-roam cats—was a much better fit for Tuck.

LuAnn Pierce, founder and director of CCAS, first heard about Tuck on social media when he was a kitten, and tells Daily Paws it was love at first post.

"Every now and again I'd check the website to see if he's still there," she says. "And one day they reached out and said, 'we just can't find a home for him.' And those are the kinds of cats that come to sanctuaries. They're considered 'unadoptable,' but what it really means is they have something going on that makes it hard to manage in a family environment. And Tuck falls into that category, as do most of our cats."

Though the shelter is built specifically for cats with incontinence with epoxy flooring and washable rugs, "we try to make it as home-like as possible," Pierce says.

"We definitely are proactive about keeping [the cats] stimulated and making sure they get enough sunshine and enough playtime and enrichment that they would get if they were in a home."

Tuck the cat sitting outside in the grass next to a play tunnel
Tuck loves roaming around outside at CCAS, where he can play with other cats and explore the outdoors safely.
| Credit: Courtesy Rocky Mountain Feline Rescue

At CCAS, Tuck will be able to roam around and play with new kitty friends in the 1,500-square-foot sanctuary, sunbathe on a catio, and get all the one-on-one love he needs.

Lugo, Tuck's former foster parent, is excited for his new beginnings. "He is an amazing cat with the odds stacked against him, but he's got a family that's dedicated to taking care of him."

And while Tuck's time at RMFR is over, the shelter says his legacy will continue to live on. They have plans to establish a fund in 2022 dedicated to caring for other cats who require a little extra care.

"When I started fostering, I understood that I could make a difference," Lugo says. "But it wasn't until I met Tuck that I understood just how vital fostering and shelters like the Rocky Mountain Feline Rescue are. Working with Tuck made me see that I could do more and showed me that it takes a community to help these cats."