When Tara Seignuer saw an Instagram post from Ellen, a vet tech, about an adorable kitten with Manx syndrome who was looking for a forever home, she instantly fell in love with the incredibly cute special needs cat.
“He had been surrendered to Ellen by a wonderful man who knew he didn’t have the capabilities to care for him due to his special needs,” explains Tara. While Manx cats are born with shortened or absent tails, cats with Manx syndrome are not only tailless, they also have a form of spina bifida, which can cause serious issues related to their bladder, bowels, and digestion.
Consequently, cats with Manx syndrome need more care than typical felines, which usually includes bladder and bowel expression, laxatives, and special diets. “They are also more prone to megacolon, which can be deadly,” explains Tara. This rare and life-threatening condition is characterized by a very dilated colon with poor motility, which can lead to chronic constipation.
Tara didn’t have any experience caring for a cat with Manx syndrome or megacolon when she learned about the young feline, who was named Trombone by his former owner, in October 2019. However, she was confident her experience caring for Mira — a stunning tortie with cerebellar hypoplasia, asthma, and radial hypoplasia — made her a good candidate to adopt the little special needs cat, so she submitted an application. “After caring for Mira I knew I could take on anything, and swore to myself I would save any special needs animal I could,” says Tara.
To Tara’s delight, her adoption application was approved, and on October 17, 2019, the three-month-old black kitten left Sara, his foster mom in the United States, to travel on a plane with a volunteer to his new home in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. “They even threw him a going away party which was adorable!” remembers Tara. “They made him a little moose hat, and one with a maple leaf around his little face.”
Shortly after Tara greeted him at the airport, a balloon in her hand, she decided to give the incredibly cute kitten a new name to go with his fresh start in Canada. “Within a couple days his ears and eyes seemed to grow bigger than his head and made me think of Mickey Mouse,” explains Tara, so she changed his name to Mickey Trombone. “I have all respect for [Mickey’s former owner], so I added Trombone as Mickey’s middle name in remembrance.”
Initially, Tara, an experienced volunteer at the SPCA, had trouble expressing Mickey’s bladder, because while she’d expressed adults cats in the past, she’d never expressed a kitten. Thankfully, she eventually got the hang of expressing Mickey’s bladder, but a month later, he became bloated and constipated, so Tara rushed him to an emergency vet.
“The emergency vet we saw suggested euthanasia, saying he will always have these issues,” remembers Tara, but she refused to even consider putting Mickey to sleep. Fortunately, the vet gave Mickey an enema, and Tara worked hard to find the correct dosage of laxatives for this special boy.
It’s been nearly four months since this frightening ordeal, and thanks to his mom, Mickey is doing great! “Manx syndrome was a first for me to deal with, and dosing will change as he grows but I’m prepared for that now,” explains Tara. “I know what to watch for.” While this handsome boy needs more care and attention than the average cat, including having his diaper changed and his bladder expressed, Mickey is an incredibly active and happy kitten.
This energetic young cat loves to play with his adoptive siblings, especially his dog brother Paco, and he adores snuggling with Mira, his feline sister who also has special needs, and his mom. “He loves momma cuddle time and making biscuits on me, but he especially loves attacking my feet!” says Tara.
While it’s obvious Mickey is thriving, Tara has encountered lots of people who believe cats with Manx syndrome are incapable of having good lives. However, she believes special needs cats are incredibly resilient, and with a bit of extra help and care, animals like Mickey are more than capable of having happy and fulfilling lives. “While he may be differently abled, he is fully handicapable!” says Tara. “I love this boy to the moon and back. He’s a maniac — a little devilish furball full of cattitude.”
Thanks to some very special people, including Mickey’s former owner, Ellen the vet tech, his foster mom Sara, and the volunteer who accompanied him on the trip to Canada, this remarkable boy was able to find the perfect forever home with Tara.
After all, Tara not only provides Mickey with the extra care he needs to thrive, she appreciates — and even indulges — his outgoing and fearless personality. “He’s very much in your face, purring, flopping on his back for belly rubs, and just makes you melt,” says Tara. “He stole my heart and he’ll never give it back, but I’m OK with that.”
If you want to learn more about this adorable kitten, you can follow Mickey on Instagram.