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Twice the Love: Lucca and Zoe's Happy Tail

Wednesday, July 23, 2014 - 4:30pm
Two cats napping together

Bonded animals—pets who must stay together—can offer adopters twice the love. Unfortunately, they can also be twice as hard to place into a permanent home. Such was the case with Lucca and Zoe, two bonded kitties who were adopted and returned to the ASPCA three times. But these pals stuck together through thick and thin, and now they’re living a doubly good life because of it. Here is their Happy Tail.

Lucca and Zoe first came to the ASPCA in November, 2012. They were left at the door of our Adoption Center in New York City, and at the time they were less than 6 months old. The two tiny kitties were adopted four days later, and we were pleased that they had found a home so quickly. But then a pattern emerged: Zoe and Lucca were returned in July 2013, then adopted again, and then returned a third time in March 2014. Though the cats were cute, we learned that little Lucca had a tendency toward accidents that was proving more than adopters could handle. In each home, he had urinated repeatedly on couches, beds, and rugs.

We set out to find the cause of Lucca’s problem, and that’s when we discovered the blood in his urine. As it turns out, this fussy feline wasn’t behaviorally challenged—he had a massive amount of bladder crystals. At our Animal Hospital, he received surgery (a cystotomy), and was given a life-long prescription for urinary-friendly food. Though we had solved his health problem, we were back to square one in terms of adopters.

Because of all they had been through together, Lucca and Zoe were listed once again as a bonded pair. We were worried about their prospects, until we remembered that one of our volunteers, Michelle D., had expressed interest in adopting bonded kitties. Michelle was introduced to Zoe and Lucca, and it was love at first sight. “When I first saw them, they were snuggled together with their paws wrapped around each other,” she says. “I called my husband Will and he was able to come see the two cats right away, and he fell in love as well.”

Two cats grooming each other

Before rushing into a fourth adoption for the pair, though, we made sure that Michelle and Will learned everything about their health and history. “We found out that these two year old cats had been through some tough experiences from the time they were kittens, and that made us even more determined to give them a happy home,” Michelle says. “At the ASPCA, people work so hard to give each animal the medical, nutritional, and behavioral care he or she needs. Everyone is rooting for them to find the right match, and we really wanted to adopt cats who were in need of a home.”

Fortunately, the fourth time proved to be the charm, as Lucca and Zoe are now thriving in Michelle’s home. She tells us, “They bonded solidly with us. Lucca loves to be picked up and held, Zoe loves to sleep with us, and they often follow us as we move from one room to another.” The kitties now spend their days playing with toys, snoozing around the house (Lucca loves the armchair; Zoe the ottoman), and sitting on the windowsill watching birds.

Michelle adds, “At some point each day, we’ll find them nestled together, cuddled up and bathing one another. We love these cats and feel lucky to be loved in return. We’re so grateful to the ASPCA for their commitment to find a home not only for Lucca and Zoe, but for all the other cats who come through their doors.”

With such a long history of bad luck, Lucca and Zoe are finally getting the love they deserve. We’re so glad this bonded duo found their forever home—and that they found it together.

Two cats snuggling

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Having adopted cats myself who peed in strange places, the first thing I did was talk to the vet and was advised that this is typical of bladder issues. I recognise the behaviour now in foster cats and my own, it is very common because of the bad design of their bladders. I am disappointed that the ASPCA did not pick up on it the first time the cats were returned so, although it is great that they now have a good home, the situation should never have arisen after the first return. They should gone out to foster to see if it was behavioural and dealt with accordingly, or physical.


Thank you for your post. Timothy (originally feral) has recurring issues with urinating in inappropriate places. I'm going to have the crystallization issue checked out. Have tried to make accommodations for him (covers on furniture and such - always a clean litter box, of course, even thought it might be a behavorial breakfast time issue, so get up while it's still dark when he says he's hungry to feed him. Seemed to help a bit at first.) His brother (not feral) has none of the same issues, so Timothy's might be medical. Both cats are indoors only, and Timothy never shows an interest in trying to slip outdoors, so I don't think that's the problem. His non-feral brother is the one who wants to go outside. Your post has motivated me to dig deeper into this issue. Thanks again.


I don't think many cat owners pick up immediately on the crystal situation. I worked for a vet and for some reason that was never brought up. We got in a Maine Coone kitty of about 9-10 weeks of age whose leg had been smashed in an electric garage door and the owners had brought him in to be put down. They did not care what was done, they just didn't want him because of the leg, which meant they would not be able to keep him outside and they only wanted an outside cat.
Well, I wanted him, so the vet removed his leg and I took him home to heal. He slept on my chest for quite some time and I held him like a baby with his wound on my chest and tummy for weeks. I believed the energy would come from my body and enter his. I still believe it did heal better and faster because of that bond. Soon he was healed and running around the house like a lunatic!! He could run faster than any of the other cats - just not in a straight line!! However - and I did not catch this part, he really did not do well in the litter box. He did his #2 just fine, but he was not steady with his urine. Because I saw urine, I thought all was OK. I did not realize that he was not going completely each time. He must have been in pain and holding some back because he was not able to eliminate completely. One evening, he came through the living room and made a low, rumbling "meow" which I thought was cute - but by the time he had meowed 4 times, I realized he was in pain. I rushed him to the vet (we had moved, so it was a different one) and she diagnosed the crystal situation. After a particularly bad disagreement because this new vet did not want to treat him because I did not have all the money at once and had no credit with her, I persisted and she did treat him. Oh, I babied that little darlin' and with the proper food and watching over him, he has done just fine in the ensuing 12 years. He is slowing down now, but he has no crystals. He is a sloppy pee-er, but that is what recycled newspapers are for now, aren't they? BTW, at my age, I am worse than he is - lol!! He is a Hemingway cat (6 toes on each leg) - but of course he only has 18 toes since he lost a leg. He's my little imperfect, perfect buddy!!


that's great that you posted that info! I have learned the same thing and so many people don't and just give up on a wonderful cat because of potty problems. People can look for Taurine in your cat's food (most have it) and it keeps kitty's urine tract nice and healthy.


Thank you, dear, kind-hearted, loving Michelle for adopting these gorgeous bonded kitties, Lucca and Zoe. Thank you to the doctors at the ASPCA for treating these cats' health problems so that they can live happy, beautiful lives in peace and love with their new family.


Thank you so much for being a real human. We are no different than all the other living creatures on this planet, and they should be treated no differently than we would treat another human, or than we would want to be treated ourselves. One of my rescues had a life-threatening bladder problem several years ago. His surgery was hard, but he recovered. His litterbox issues have gotten much better, but he has never completely stopped urinating outside of the litterbox. At least it's always on the floor or rug, never on furniture. There is no way I would ever give him up. When I adopt a beautiful creature, as I have five times, it is for life. Not until it becomes "inconvenient", or "difficult", or "too expensive". It is for life, or I wouldn't do it. What if I had a bladder problem. Would I want my husband or parent to send me away?


I love that we humans have the opportunity to care for our fur babies. I agree with your sentiments - and would NEVER give up one of my babies. I sure hope God let's us be with them again.

S. O. Rooney

Debbie, I appreciate your commitment to keeping adopted pets in your home for life. I share the same resolve. If I adopt a poor cat that needs a home, I do it for life. Period. How would it feel to need a home so badly, then have your new family take you back to the shelter? Breaks my heart.

erika granoff

great post debbie, i totally agree-and thank you to the doctors who treated these beautiful animals to get them better, thank you from my family to yours
love berry and charm (my two baby boy rescured kitties)

cathy c

this is an amazing and warming know the aspca do a much better job than the australian equivalent the rspca, if these little guys had been through that organisation they would have been euthenased as is volunteer rescue orgs in australia that persist with challenging pet issues and give a pet a second chance. i am a donor to aspca and not rspca yet i donate to rescues here. your story
reinforces my faith thankyou.from australia!