The Mysterious Death of Mickey Meow

by Lyndsey Walsh, 2015

Microscope image of clogged lung vein

Clogged lung vein

Mickey Meow, beloved feline companion of Dr. Joy Reidenberg, passed away at the age of 16 human years. Before his death, Mickey Meow began exhibiting some mysterious symptoms leading to unresolved questions about the cause of his demise.

The Mysterious Death of Mickey Meow is artistic and scientific exploration into pathology and bioethics. Taking the role of a CSI-inspired investigator, Walsh tirelessly searched Mickey Meow’s organs and tissues for answers to this mystery.

Cause of death was ascertained through histological procedures and pathology-based assessments and concluded Mickey Meow died of acute tumor lysis resulting from late stage Large Granular Lymphoma. However, the project opened the door for some other unsettling social and cultural questions. What justice is available for pet owners when their pet dies under unusual circumstances? How can the terms of death and loss be negotiated in histological and pathology-based investigations? What are the ethics in presenting this information to the family of the deceased?

This work was done in collaboration with Dr. Joy Reidenberg, Dr. Virginia Gillepsie, and the Mount Sinai Animal Pathology Department.