Rosie looks like my 14 year old cat Setzer Marie, who died on July 18th. I thought she was going to be fine after being treated for a couple of UTIs. Suddenly, she didn't want to eat, but she was still drinking. She went downhill fast, so I took her to the vet. They put her on an IV overnight, hoping she would come back, but she died overnight. Poor baby. I loved her so much. She was the heart of my cat family, sweet to every one of them, even the dog. I had just recently said that I hope she isn't the first to go. My youngest cat seems so lost without her. I want her back so badly and wonder if I could have saved her if I had gone to the vet earlier. Or if it was her kidneys shutting down as happens with so many cats. Oh, it hurts so much to lose a beloved pet. I'm so sorry for your loss.
Photograph by Maya Silver
Published March 2, 2013
Introducing our First Person series, where we invite writers to share personal stories.
I will confess that when friends and co-workers have told me that they "put their pet down," I would think, "OK, how hard could that be?" Disease or old age begins to take a toll on your pet, and at some point you decide it's time for Rover or Tabby to go.
Then I faced the dilemma myself.
Our cat, Rosie, born in 1992, had been having what I will delicately call "litter-box issues" for a couple of years. My wife, Marsha, and I had made many accommodations. We had installed an upstairs litter box for moments when she couldn't make it to the basement box. We had experimented with boxes that were easier to enter, including an enclosed one with a ramp leading up to the litter area. We had bought a rubber pad to put under the box for spillage. We had even bought what I refer to as "doggie wee-wee pads"—extremely absorbent pads that are used to house-train dogs but turn out to be excellent at soaking up cat urine as well.
(I have to say that when I bought those pads at PetSmart and the cashier asked, "Oh, how old is your puppy?" and I replied, "It is not a puppy. It is an aging, incontinent cat," I enjoyed the look of stunned disbelief on her face.)
One suggestion we did not follow: Buy preemie diapers and cut a hole for the tail.
Anyway, as I noted, I thought it would be very easy to say, "I am tired of cleaning up cat urine, so let's euthanize Rosie." But somehow I couldn't. Maybe it was because Rosie seemed to be enjoying life as best she could. She would yell at us each morning if her food supply was low, and as soon as I got home and plopped on the couch in front of the TV, she'd come right over, climb onto my chest, and lie contentedly—a 20-pound (9-kilogram) weight smothering me and shedding orange hair upon my wardrobe of black.
I'd make euthanasia jokes: "She sleeps 23 hours a day, so what's one more hour?" But I found myself wondering: What gives me the right to bring her life to a close? Who knew that a house cat could trigger an existential dilemma?
My inability to make the call to the vet was especially surprising given my checkered relationship with Rosie. When our two now grown daughters were kids living at home, they were the alphas. Rosie gave them great affection but treated me like I had some kind of toxic plague. If I would sit next to her on the sofa, she'd bolt like a crazy, scared rabbit. Even if I had just filled her food bowl minutes before.
But now my wife and I were the alphas. Rosie didn't quite shower us with love, but she did clearly crave our company. So we delayed calling the vet. And we kept cleaning up the litter box.
Then, a few days ago, Rosie stopped eating, And my wife and I knew it was time. We were actually grateful—it was as if she had given us permission to put her down.
We found a vet who would come to the home. That made it easier, because like many cats, Rosie was not a fan of being placed in a cardboard "carrying case" and schlepped to the vet by car.
And so I came home for a 4 p.m. appointment. Rosie was sitting on the sofa, where she has spent most of her time for the past months, curled in a ball. The vet told us that many cats "commit suicide" in a way—when they sense that their body is failing, they stop eating or drinking. Which is what Rosie was doing.
The vet injected Rosie with a sedative while I stroked her. She became unresponsive. At which point I became extremely responsive. To my utter amazement, I began sobbing uncontrollably. I couldn't even talk on the phone when my wife called to say she was five minutes away. I apologized to the vet, and he said, "You're doing well—most people are already blubbering when I get there."
Marsha made it home in time to say goodbye. Then the very kind vet administered a dose of sodium pentothal. We sat there gently stroking Rosie's head. Soon after, her heart stopped beating.
Why is it so hard to send a cat to kitty heaven? It's not like Rosie left in the prime of her life. She had 20 years—20 good years. She was the daughter of a feral cat. We intended her to live an indoor life, but her instincts demanded that she bust out into the great outdoors. So she turned herself into an indoor-outdoor cat and took great pleasure in prowling our yard, terrorizing other cats, and sunning herself on the patio.
Over time, she became such a part of our family life that she was just Rosie Silver, our cat, with her own style and her own Facebook page. She was a devoted friend to our two daughters, even when they stretched her out like she was on a rack. She was also part of our family crises, like the time she got into a fight with some animal outside that resulted in a puncture wound just when Marsha was undergoing breast-cancer treatment.
"Your cat might need a port for her medicine," the vet told us then. I wanted to say, "Now wait a sec, there, we already have a port in the house," because that was part of Marsha's treatment—the implanting of a port for chemo infusions.
I guess what I'm saying now is that I'm stunned by how deep the bond with an animal can be—even an animal that treated me like an ogre for over a decade. And how hard it is to say goodbye, even when you know it's time.
So long, Rosie. You were a cool cat, and our house is empty without you. And I know this sounds hokey, but my heart is a bit emptier too.
Have you ever had to say goodbye to a beloved pet? Did the extent of your grief surprise you? Share your story in the comments.
Marc Silver is deputy director of text for National Geographic magazine and co-author of the new book My Parent Has Cancer and It Really Sucks: Real-Life Advice from Real-Life Teens.
Thank you for all of your wonderful stories. It is so helpful. I had to put my precious 14 year old cat Gizmo to sleep on Sunday after her kidneys rapidly started to fail and her blood work came back with a bad prognosis. She had stopped eating, having bowel movements, grooming herself, and had lost about 5 lbs in a few days time. But like a typical cat, never showed her pain. I've never had to make a more difficult decision. But I knew I loved her too much for her to suffer and she had a long and wonderful life. It warms my heart when I think about how much we loved each other. It is just hard to be the one to make that final decision.
I recently had to put down my cat too. Her name was danger and she was just under a year and a half old. All of the sudden she had congestive heart failure and was crying in pain so I made the decision with the vets advice to have her put down. It was the hardest thing I ever had to do and felt wrong since she was still so young. And to make it worse we couldn't even bury her since on the way to the vets office she bit my girlfriend only because she was in so much pain. They told us its state law they have to test for rabies and then cremate the body. I wanted to grab her and run out but I knew the right thing to do would be to not make her suffer anymore. I still hear the terrible cries from her in the back of my head. RIP danger we love and miss you very much.
We put our kitty, Meow, down this morning. She was almost 19. I feel bad, but she like many older animals - had arthritis and hyperthyroidism. She was going into complete kidney failure in the past few days. A tiny kitty down to just about 4 pounds. She was a long haired kitty and just had no regard for her long hair anymore and brushing her was painful for her and for us. She began to lose her bladder in the last 48 hours on a constant basis and had blood in her urine. Could I have done more? I really don't know...
Although Meow was my first pet with my husband, our kids loved her just as much. I have an amazing 11 year old daughter, who really adored her. When we went to the vet this morning, she was the one who wanted to have Meow "die in her arms." What a blessing to have our kitty know and feel so much love. To have a beautiful young lady look her in the eyes and profess her love to this animal. I received a text this afternoon, "Mom, my heart is broken." What do I do? My heart is broken too. How do we mend our broken hearts?
I have to believe that she's in a better place. If you look up the word euthanasia, it means "kind death" - so I need to believe that this is true. Why do I feel so guilty?
She gave us 18+ years of joy. I hope she finds peace in the next world. I hope she has the best time with all of her favorite toys... rubber bands, q-tips, and balled up paper.
We love you Meow-kitty.
I think I am coming close to facing a tough decision much sooner in my cat's life than I ever expected. My sweet, loving, neurotic, standoffish, huffy, and completely wonderful girlie Olive is only 8, but she has had some terrible health problems this year. In May, she simply stopped eating and drinking, and she starting yowling one Saturday morning so I rushed her to the vet to get her checked out. The vet couldn't find anything really wrong save some mild constipation, but kept her two days in the hospital. She hasn't ever really come back from that.
Soon after I got her home, I noticed her eating litter out of the litter box. No excrement or clumps, just the litter itself. I didn't see it often, so I tried keeping an eye on her and shooing her from the box when I saw her doing it.
Not long after that, Olive came down with ideopathic vestibular disease. She had to be hospitalized for almost a week. This was fairly recently, and when I brought her home, she seemed to recover. She was able to walk and use the box, she was social and friendly, but she still didn't want to eat or drink very much and she was eating more and more litter. She was also going off by herself to closets in remote parts of the house to be by herself. In any event, I changed the type of litter, and then finally resorted to covering the litter with puppy pads so she'd still use the box but not be able to eat the litter.
Since she still wasn't eating well at all, we started her on an appetite stimulant. She ate for sure, but almost immediately after that, it seemed like the vestibular disease started all over again. I was crushed.
I rushed her back to the vet and we talked about quality of life, possible causes (brain tumor, viral brain infection) and some general prognoses. In the end, I took her home with something to help with nausea and a steroid to reduce any swelling that might be causing the condition. If she doesn't improve substantially, which doesn't seem to be happening, I may have to seriously consider putting her to sleep. She's just... Not the same. She sleeps in the closet all the time, she's not eating or drinking right now, she can't stand or walk very far, and she's just not my baby girl. It's only been a day or so, and I'm going to keep a close eye on her and how she responds to me and the medicine the vet has prescribed.
I am in a difficult position: I don't want to give up on her, but I don't want her to suffer. I don't know how I will know what the right decision is, and my heart is aching with the burden. Emotion is making it hard for me to see the line between what I want and what she needs.
I had a grandmother who hated cats. She lived with us and was constantly yelling about the cat doing something. One day, my mother came home to tell us our cat was killed and his body was on the side of the road. My brother and I started crying. To my surprise, my grandmother starts crying saying our crying was making her cry. It wasn't long afterwards that she wanted a cat of her own. Cats make great pets it just sucks when they die.
My heart is absolutely broken in a million pieces. We had to put down my sweet kitty boy Koto yesterday. It was the most heartbreaking day of my life and I keep seeing images of him in his final moments in my head that will not go away and I feel so guilty each time. He was 15 years old and over the past 3 weeks his health had just completely deteriorated; he stopped eating completely and only drank water, he has terrible arthritis in his hind legs that prevented him from walking around too much without falling down, he stopped meowing and purring and he lost a ton of weight and was essentially just skin and bones at that point. I knew something was not right when we stopped coming to greet me everyday after I came home from work and after he stopped eating too (even his favourite treats) but I couldn't bear to think of the end, I just wanted to hold on a little bit longer to my baby boy but I knew it would be selfish. I feel insurmountable grief as I write this now, I keep trying to tell myself that he was in a lot of pain and was suffering greatly and that it was the right thing to do but my heart still hurts a lot and I cannot stop crying even at work. I just hope he is in a much better place now, no longer suffering in pain and that I will one day see him again. I will never forget him.
After a weekend on a fluid drip because of kidney failure his creatine levels were still high hardly coming down at all. I took my cat Purdy to the vets today. I am not coping well. I was given the option both on Friday and yesterday. At around 12-1 I can't remember exact times because of upset, Purdy lay on the bed and his heart was beating very fast and he was twitching in his limbs. I went to stroke him and unusually there was no response but after about 40 seconds I'm not sure he got up and went to pee. I was calling the vets and describing this and saying I'm not sure whether to let him go here naturally or euthanasia. By the time he got to the vets he was alert and I couldn't make the decision easy. He was my little boy in my mind and I also didn't trust myself to stay with him in case I tried to stop them so I thought in the interest of all I should leave the room, after I signed the consent form. I was extremely distraught and unexpectedly I heard him cry from the waiting room. He was suffering greatly although he was alert at the end it just doesn't feel right. I've never been in this position before and it has shredded me. The vet told me he had became distressed when they were handling him, and that he was given sedation but I wasn't there and it's haunting me. The fact is my cat was suffering but I don't know how I am going to forgive myself. I wish he had went naturally on the bed, I'm almost hundred percent he was in the process of dying but then he was so alert at the vets and I wasn't strong enough to stay with him. If only he had been able to talk. I don't think that euthanasia is easy at all and there is never the exact right time and I have no idea if today was right or wrong but I am one broken woman right now and I keep thinking I have done wrong. Fact he was suffering. Fact if I never took action he would have suffered more. But was today the right day? His instincts were still there that's what makes it harder. He was atypical while he would stop drinking he would continue eating. I love him so much and I hope he is happy and free. He was cooped up after 15 years for the last three months and his quality of life was poor. I don't know if anyone can relate to this. I need to work on forgiveness because it feels like I killed him right now.
No one should take this personal , but I'm definitely against Euthanasia ( human and animal). Before moving to the city and live the urban lifestyle, I grew in the village were we use to have several cats for many years. When the cat gets older they disappear. They simply leave their human partners and isolate somewhere in the nature ( forest in my case ). Cats feels well when that are close to the end of the life cycle and decide to end it peacefully in isolation. My friend had a semi healthy cat ( Bimbo) for 18 years and started to change his habits ( sleeping in the basement and dome days disappearing for days, etc) we decided instead of putting him down to send him to my relative cousin in the village. Two weeks later we had a call from my cousin saying that the cat suddenly disappeared ! The next day we decided to search in the surround area in the forest and had no luck finding anything in that area. We asked the neighbors and one kid told us that our cat was going during the last 3 days in that direction! Likely it was a small area and that made our search easier. Unexpectedly we found Bimbo quickly, he was peacefully lying on his side between the bushed sand close to a tree trunk!
Can you imagine this Bimbo was discovering the area, he want it to make sure to find a sweet secure and isolated spot to die peacefully and naturally.
Lesson learn: Don't bring animals ( cat, dog, etc) to your apartments cause naturally they don't belong there. Even if you do so I find it very selfish and hypocrite to put down the animals. People tend to comfort them selves by stating facts that allow them to feel not guilty. The main reasons for putting down the pet is due to more investment in time and money for the owner. Isn't it selfish to bring a pet have fun with it and when they are old we put them down with injection?! And after all we cry! Maybe we really feel sad about such events, but maybe instead we have to think twice before deciding buying a cat of a dog especially if you don't have the right environment for them to grow naturally! Oh I forgot to mention that we also remove the cat nails cause they damage the Sofa...how hypocrite is this ?! Any how I think we have twisted enough the natural and ecological system.
I had to put my kitty down yesterday. She was 20 years old. She stopped eating and only drank broths and water. She also was peeing everywhere and frequently. Some times there was blood in her urine that we tried to treat with antibiotics but nothing seemed to work.
The vet said she was severely dehydrated so he gave me an IV to keep her hydrated and comfortable. I think now she must have been in pain as she purred very little.
The next day, I saw blood in her mouth. I thought she might have lost a tooth (she had bad teeth) as it didn't appear to be much blood. I left the house and when I came back she had blood in her mouth again and near her bedding. I raced her back to the vet and he said that this was due to a build up of toxins in her body and the humane thing to do is to put her down. It happened so fast, I knew she was dying but I had no idea it was going to be that soon. He didn't give her a sedative and I am not sure why. Maybe because she was in such bad shape that it may have made her sick (?). My husband and I said good bye to her, pet her and had to hold her head down while the vet injected her. She passed immediately.
I am not sure why I feel so guilty. I am sick with sadness and have been crying for two days. I didn't expect to feel so sad over her death. I mean I really loved her with all my heart but the pain I feel now is overwhelming. I suppose just typing this is therapeutic and it's nice to share the stories, for some reason it helps to read other people's posts. Asja was my cat. She was a sweet, gentle soul who will always be in my heart.
On May 3, 2014 at approximately 4:00 pm. I had my lab/chow mix Libby euthanized. Since she was almost 13, I knew this day would come and thought I was prepared. Never did I ever imagine the sadness and gulit that would rack me on the days that followed. Libby was mostly an outdoor dog. With work, school, kids, and everything else I just didn't have the time to spend with her. She seemed happy though, I knew there were times she would have welcomed some attention. About 4 years ago, my husband got another dog. This dog lived mostly in the house and now I wonder if Libby ever wondered why the other dog got to spend time in the house with the family but she didn't. Libby was fed well, and got treats and was awarded a littlebit of cat food in her dinner every evening. She quit eating 2 weeks before I had her put down, and was very matted, she looked horrible and was down to only 38 pounds. The last 1/2 hour I spent with her was heartbreaking. She never took her eyes off of me and rested her head on my leg the whole time. It was like those last 13 years was made up in 1/2 hour with love, pettings and sweet words. At the end, I told her to be a good girl. Now I wish I would have let the doctor run a few tests and get her hydrated. Now I feel I reacted too quickly. Now I want my Libby back to shower her with love and attention. Now I'm heartbroken.
i put my brutus to sleep on wednesday 30th of april 2014 he was 14 yr old pitt bull was still mostly healthy aside from a tumor on his rump that begin to aggressively spread and ultimately abscess near the end from him messing with it he lost use of his back right leg and was getting around but it was starting to effect him using the restroom as it where so it was time i have had him the full 14 years with maybe 90 days of that entire time away from him the majority of the time he spend by my side or sleeping with me with his head on my pillow or chest we where inseparable for 14 years so it took its toll i knew it would be difficult but how difficult i would never have imagined i haven't been able to sleep in my own bed for 5 days now cause ever time i lay down i wake up looking for him before realizing he is not coming back to bed like the last 14 years little things easily set me off the second day his last poop i passed while trying to stay busy and do some mowing i broke down for 20 min cause it was the last time i would have ever let him out to potty and little stupid things you would never think of all start popping up kick in the teeth realization that he is really gone i still catch my self stopping to go let him outside or bring him a treat it is by far the most difficult thing i have ever been thru in my life i know deep down it is what was right for him but still feel guilty i had to make that choice i had to start keeping his collar on hand so i would quite spacing and having to keep realize he is gone when i think of him i am sorry for any ones loss of a friend family companion they will always be in your heart and probably always miss them i try to focus on the funny and good times we spent together and hold on to those good times so that last little while when they was not feeling their best and needed you to make that difficult choice for them be the only memories you have
I have a 18 year old female cat who has lost a lot of weight lately (she was a solid 12 lbs and now she's down to 4 lbs);
she only uses her kitty litter box 1/2 the time (yesterday she added pooping on the floor in addition to her pissing);
she doesn't want to get off of her tempurpedic pillow bed except to go in the bedroom to sleep in the dark;
more recently she started to be really picky about her food and will rarely touch it, which is only making her skinnier;
and I noticed yesterday she doesn't seem to be as full of life (she used to purr like crazy when you just look at her but now i can barely get her to purr petting her).
I know cats are really good at hiding their pain so i worry that she is in pain but just can't express it. I don't have the money to go get her checked out, in fact I have been putting off on getting her put down so I could save up to have a vet come do in the apartment (which i now have the money for)
please comment on this and let me know your opinions; Is it time?
I just had our darling 16 yr old boydog put to sleep on fri. I have been struggling with knowing when for nearly a year..he had been getting skinnier and back legs weaker, and starting to fall over but still loving food and waiting for me at the gate when I came home. His back paw became swollen from a fall on fri and I knew it would only get worse. But as the time got closer I was terrified. He was still eating and I don't think he wanted to go. It was just so sad and I feel bad even though I know it was time. I love him so much and he was such a tough brave treasure. He was in his cozy bed in the back seat of the car and the vet did it there...it was so quick and I just couldn't believe it had happened. I still can't believe he has gone. Its so lonely in the kitchen now without him...
I had my sweet, 10 year old Buffett, euthanized last week. It was a difficult decision, as the author of the article described.
I am broken hearted and have second guessed my decision a few times Buffett started vomiting up hairballs, which is not unusual: I thought he was just shedding his coat. Over an eight week period of time, the vets, though exams and testing, couldn't find anything wrong with Buffett, then thought it was kidney failure, then pancreatitis. He continued to get worse and after a two day hospitalization to have his kidneys flushed, an ultrasound determined masses in both kidneys and his pancreas. His kidneys were twice the size of a normal cat.
Since Buffett was in a lot of pain, on many medications and his quality of life was pretty much gone, I chose to end his suffering. Even though he was very sick and not going to get better, I wonder if he would could have lived a few more days, with medication. I really miss my buddy.
Choosing when to euthanize an animal is not always clear cut. And even when it is, it's very hard to end the life of a dear furry friend.
I had to put down our family cat this morning. The article is quite correct. It's not an easy thing to do.
Something unfortunate happened afterwards that I wanted to share. It might help other pet owners and also veterinarians.
Afterwards the veterinary assistant asked me if I wanted to take the deceased cat out the side door or out of the front of the building. Because I was parked in the lot out front I elected to go through the waiting room and out the front door. I was carrying the now empty pet carrier and the assistant was carrying a cardboard box containing the body of the cat.
As we entered the waiting room on the way outside I noticed a middle aged woman and her husband sitting there. The woman immediately started looking at me and the assistant. She must have noticed the empty pet carrier and saw the assistant carrying the cardboard box and quickly surmised what had just occurred. I could tell by the look on her face and how she reacted that she was very distressed. I mentioned this to the assistant outside and she told me that the woman's cat had been very sick for a long time. Knowing that it's no wonder that the woman reacted the way she did.
At human hospitals cadavers go out the back, usually through a loading dock. They don't go out the front door or through the waiting rooms. Wheeling a dead patient out the front door is unthinkable. How would patients, especially if they are very sick, feel watching a dead body leaving the hospital that way? Death is a difficult issue to deal with and a sight like that would undoubtedly be disturbing to many people. As I said, it's no wonder that the woman in the vet's waiting room was so upset. And the fact that she got upset made me upset. It was bad enough having to deal with the pain of losing the cat. But then knowing that what happened to my cat upset the other woman made things worse.
Euthanized animals should leave the office by the side or back door. Not through the waiting room. I wished they had asked me to park around the back or on the side of the building. Then I could have taken the cat home privately and without upsetting another pet owner waiting in the waiting room. This should be standard practice at all veterinary offices.
My Chloe is 17. She was diagnosed with Hyperthyroidism and last year an oral tumor. I opted not to risk invasive treatment at her age, and the vet was concerned of risks as well. She doesn't tolerate pills well and is on prescription food and corticosteroids. Paws at mouth (pain indicator) after eating. Now the tumor has grown and is rubbing on her gums leaving a permanent open sore. The vet was surprised she has lasted this long (since Oct). Now she's on daily oral antibiotics.
Yesterday she pawed a baby tooth out by root. I freaked. The vet says it's ok. I feel she is falling apart. Vets always say "only you can tell if it's time. When she stops being happy, withdraws, stops eating..." What if it's the Hyperthyroidism causing her to still feel hungry all the time. She stil greets me at the door. Still eats, purrs. Sleeps mostly. But she's old! How do I know?
A vet is coming to home euthanize tomorrow. I don't know if I'm doing the right thing. I read when an animal stops eating, they may have suffered much. I try to think of how she may feel. If I had necrotizing flesh in my mouth, wouldn't it hurt? I fear I am ending this too soon, but more that her suffering will be worse and I allowed it. I'm so torn up....
This morning I had to put my darling kitty to sleep. He was fourteen and was in fantastic health until a week ago when he unfortunately had a stroke. Since then he has become weaker and weaker and last Friday he lost all movement in his back leg and could no longer walk, jump or squat. The vet advised we left him over the weekend but as he became poorlier she advised yesterday morning we should think about putting him down. I cried all week but last night, knowing it was the last with my baby was insufferable. I have had my darling Rolo since I was six and this is the hardest thing I have ever done.
Reading your comments last night reassured me that I am not the only one going through this and made me feel better, so I wanted to share my story with you today. I am writing this with tears rolling down my cheeks and I already miss him so much. I don't know why but I am filled with so much fear for my baby and I was terrified he would be scared. I just feel so heartbroken. I feel for you all so much and I hope you are all coping better than myself. I know he is looking down on me but he is not here, and that breaks my heart
I grieve for you Marc and for all who have written here in the comments. My own beloved Tabitha kitty passed just one week ago and although I knew it would come someday losing one's furbaby - whether 14 days, weeks, months or years - is always a shock. As soon as my vet called and told me she had a tumor the size of a human fist in her tummy I knew right away what was the right thing for her. We took care of her that day and released her to the cosmos to find like spirits to play with. My husband and I look forward to the day we can see all our furbabies again, but especially we'll be on the lookout for this one. Namaste little spirits.
I am typing this, totally inconsolable. I took my "baby" to the vet this morning to get the diagnosis she has cancer and won't be with me for much longer. I was told she could have surgery, but that she probably wouldn't survive the anaesthetic. At 15 she's had a really good life and it's going to kill me to take her to the vet for the last time. The vet has told me just to have quality time with the time she has left. I don't know what to do. She's hasn't even died yet, but my heart is breaking knowing that it's inevitable! I am such a baby!
My heart goes out to you and the others. We all share your grief. It has been since Friday that we put our baby Zorro down and I am missing him sooo much!! I love him so much and want to see him again around our house, I want to see him doing all the crazy antics that he was full of. Now i just see how we must of missed that he was getting so sick and that he deteriated so quickly and we didn't catch it. We love you Zorro!!!
I, my brother, and my sister's boyfriend just got home from putting our Leah to sleep. I am typing this through tears. We had her since I was about 14... I just turned 28. So long, so many years. Like a lot of your stories, our baby had liver issues it looked like, started twitching this morning and was unresponsive. We didn't want her to suffer and though we PRAYED for her healing, it wasn't fair to see her that way and pray to keep her here longer. I have ALL the 'should I have?' questions in my head as well. Worse, my sister was at work, and didn't get to say bye. Her and I cried on the phone as we made the decision to give her back to God. God bless all of you that are going through this too. Painful isn't even the word, quite the understatement. Love you Leah Bear, mommy will see you again one day...
When these beloved creatures look at us with their soulful eyes we can't help to feel the unconditional love they feel for us humans. When it's time for us to end their suffering it's beyond sad, even though we know it's time to say our final goodbyes...I can't even describe these feelings they are so intense. I have been through this many times and it never gets easier. However, this time we did it differently and had a vet come to our home to do the euthanasia. I have to say that even though it was still very hard emotionally, for the kitty to not have to go through all the stress of going to the vets and us getting stressed knowing our poor kitties are stressed it is a fantastic service and we will never do it any other way again. This little animal was my companion for 22 years and was always glad to see me no matter what...now I have a huge hole in my heart and feel as though a piece of my being is gone. I know it will get better as time passes but for now it hurts and the emotions come in waves...sometimes I wonder why, why are these emotions so intense when we lose our animals...I suppose it's the love we have for them.
I'm now well-past retirement, and have had cats and dogs and gerbils and mice and goldfish and snakes and frogs and, even, a colony of ants. Losing each was just horrible. 2 years ago we had to have our 17 year-old cat, Magnus, put down - at home. Both my husband and I were weeping. This one I even put up a little kitty memorial plaque on his grave. Every place we've ever lived had little graves in the back yard. And, I guess there will be at least one more. Our current cat, Lily, will end up there - eventually. Hopefully, a LONG eventually. Each one was different. Slither, my Black racer, would neatly eat newly dead mice from my fingers. They were culls from my mouse-breeding business (how else could a 14 year old girl earn pin money back then?). Eventually, Slither got away from me, and went to live in the woods. There were fewer chipmunks for a while. Charm, my little ribbon snake, would simply constrict around my wrist, and look like a bracelet. Toots, my gray and white mama-cat presented us with litters of 6 to 8 kittens on a regular basis. Easy to find homes for them in a neighborhood full of children. I wept over each parting, whether in death or adoption. Each of them shared a part of my life. Child, teen, adult, parent, grandparent, I have had pets.
My advice from the Medicare side of life? Weep for each loss, and get another to share your life. Pets, warm- or cold-blooded, give us a chance to explore new relationships. They give us back much more than we lose when they leave our lives.
To all my pets: I hope I'll see you at the Rainbow Bridge!
My heart is broken tonight as we put our beloved cat to sleep just a few hours ago. He was such a special a beloved cat with tons of personality. We just noticed he was sick a few weeks ago and realized he had lost a lot of weight. He was very fluffy so we didn't notice so much and my son and I were so busy these last few weeks we did not notice. The vet at first thought liver flukes but he never got better and would not eat. I was force feeding him for 4 days and he started to get very weak and wobbly and trouble going to bathroom. The vet said he prob has liver cancer. My son did not want to see him like this so we put him down. I do not have peace about it and feel very guilty that we did not know he was so sick. He was 11 years old and we feel since he was a house cat he should have lived much longer. I feel just heart broken and have been crying all afternoon.
Ouch…! I am still trying to get past this giant lump in my throat from the emotion that wells up in me, having sent my ‘little girl Bo’ home this past Saturday March 15th. She has/had a very strong life force and with my doctoring care she kept on living and loving for her 22nd year. (As a man often is, I am bad with dates. It was 1990 or 1992 when we got her.) Yes, that is a long time. But I had the opportunity to care for her and I thought it my duty to care for God’s creation the best I could. She had a good life and she knew how much she was loved. It was a two way street for sure! She was a strong little tabby with beautiful markings. Only God could paint such a face. I had been asking the Doctor for years now “when will I know, and what do you think?” He never really replied. But I knew this was it. She had a strong heart and will but the body would not cooperate. It was not fair to keep pushing for more time. I’d been down this road before with younger cats, but this was not easy at all. This was pure love…and you don’t let go so easy.
When my cat was a young kitten, he observed that my husband held my hand all the time. So he also started putting his paw on my hand. On the couch or lying in bed or on the dining table, he always put his paw in my hand. And he continued to hold my hand through several relationships, through several jobs, through several homes in strange cities and in different continents......
Last Monday, the doctor confirmed that he is dying. "It's bad," she said.
So now it's my turn to hold his paw. To wait patiently. I don't quite know when it would be time, to have him put to sleep. I don't want him to be in pain or feel like he was drowning in that thick liquid collecting in his lungs. The doctor advised that I would look into his eyes and would know when it is time. So I guess we just sit here and wait. Days, weeks, or (hopefully) months. In the meantime, I'll hold his paw.
My cat, Einstein, died Friday night at home. He was almost 17, I had him since he was 6 weeks old. He died at home and it was awful. He was having what I am guessing were seizures and was drooling, without going into it too much, I guess I wish I would have had him put to sleep. But he didn't seem to be to that point until that night. I tried to call a local vet when it was happening to see if he could come to the house, but he did not make house calls. I strongly think they should make house calls in those situations.
I miss Einstein so much, he was such a presence in our home, always in the same room with us. Always met us at the door when we came home. I wish so much that I would have spent more time with him lately, you just never know when it's going to happen. the house feels so different without him.
I will pick his ashes up tomorrow, not sure that it will make me feel any better, in fact it's going to be difficult.
I am at work right now and having a hard time not crying so I better end this.
Prayers to all of you going through the loss of a pet, it is devastating.
I have already poured my heart out in a comment i wrote unaware that this was part of a National geographic site and I am now almost as saddened by the fact that this site seems to be a sad way to catch people who are sharing a time of great sadness. So my first comment has been lost in Cyber-space.
Get my drift.
However the comments I read, (before signing up to National Geographic) to me were unbelievable and I was comforted by the depth of love our pets can command because of their unconditional love they give to us.
I am a Christian and am finding this time very difficult. So to all of those out there who need comfort. God Bless and I pray the peace of God which passes all understanding will be with us and our wonderful pets as they pass on to a better world.
Reading this article as well as the comments below have really helped me deal with the pain of having to let go of my sweet Trisha cat today. When I woke up this morning I knew it was the day, but of course I had to go into work for a few hours on this Saturday of all Saturdays. I cried the whole 3 hours I was at work and tried to hide it best I could from my coworkers. I dreaded looking at the clock, watching it grow closer and closer to the time. As soon as I left work I called Paws Into Grace, an in-home euthanasia provider who had wonderful reviews on Yelp. She didn't answer. I drove home feeling helpless, sad. The doctor called back as I was almost home and I inquired about the service. She said she had a cancellation and could be right over. It felt like I had to grab the chance. I knew Trisha was at home, suffering and alone.
She had been in a pathetic state for nearly a week, having nothing to eat for five days and having trouble figuring out how to even lap water comfortably. The night before I stood and watched her as she stared into her water dish, looking as though she wished she could drink it all up but just couldn't. Eventually she turned her eyes towards me and gave me a look like, "I hate this, don't watch me while I am like this." I kissed her and let her be. I was suffering too. Every time I heard her cry it killed me. Her meow had changed over the course of the week to a low, hollow sound of despair. I couldn't stand walking to the kitchen and seeing her sitting in front of her bowl, staring off, shaking. Her cute face, which I loved to kiss and nuzzle, sitting there miserable and frustrated. My gut told me it was her time to go. She has had a long life and was sick off and on the past year, but it had never gotten this bad.
It was such a tough choice to make, I still don't know if it was the right one. She was jumping and purring and being her curious self just a week ago. Now she is gone. I will never be able to look to the window and see her sitting there, basking in the sunlight. My home feels empty, and so do I. Holding her in my arms as she slowly passed filled me immense grief. I shook and cried and I could feel the way my face was twisting and turning as I tried to stay in the moment with her. I remembered the first time I saw her, how cute she looked, how friendly she was. How she came inside the house and jumped on my desk and started devouring my steamed broccoli. I knew she must have been starving to eat broccoli. Shortly after I took her in, it was winter and I didn't have the heart to let her stay out there. Trisha was good to me, always there when nobody else was. I miss her so much. I'm so sorry Trish. I love you and will always cherish the years we spent together.
I am sitting here now with a broken heart. Percy was a noble and wonderful cat/friend. When my husband passed away a year ago, he asked me to be good to his cat. Percy had been his companion and friend during his own illness. This last year has been difficult for me and Percy, I moved back home and he had to acclimate to a house of other creatures. 2 other cats and 3 dogs. When he started to lose weight, I thought it was because of all the changes he had suffered through. I found out too late that he was going into kidney failure. I left Percy in the care of our wonderful vet and his employees. Knowing that he is gone now and that I essentially signed his death warrant has me physically sick. Percy, I love you and miss you. I pray that you really are in kitty heaven and maybe even with my husband
I always had been an unconditional cat lover. In April of 1996 while living in the Quebec City area, Nutmeg came into my life one Sunday morning … a calico cat of approx one year.
Even though we already had Huggies, a friendly loving cat, I invited her in by the back door. But my husband disagreed with me about adopting another cat so, following his wishes, I put her back outside under the front porch….After commenting about the poor thing to my teenage daughter Gabrielle, she told me that it was a stray cat who had spent the winter roaming around the youth centre, fending for itself, trying on occasions to get into the centre on opening nights.
I felt terrible during the following week. Wasn’t charity a Christian value? And if it had been a homeless person that came to my door begging for food and shelter? Would I give it or would I be afraid to? How could I pretend to be a true Christian if I had doubts? I haven’t been able to live up to the call by giving shelter to a mere cat in need. I was truly upset and let my husband know that if God lead her again to my door I was going to keep her.
A week later I received a call from one of my son’s friends who lives at the other end of my neighborhood; he had found a “small cat” but could not keep it because he already had a dog, and went on with all the usual arguments. I didn’t want to be bothered, with a kitten and started to answer him accordingly when I remembered the Sunday cat…. I asked him to come show it to me and a few minutes later Steve was at the door with my Sunday cat. Her fate was sealed…and my faith was strengthened.
Nutmeg turned out to be a quiet well mannered cat. Even my husband fell in love with her. She shared the house and grounds with Huggies and never took more than her share; complicity developed between them over the years, and became protective of him. She followed me whenever I went in the woods, for a walk or to pick berries. She would always come to you when called. She was afraid of thunderstorms, hiding under a low piece of furniture whenever she could hear a storm coming….Nutmeg adopted a sweater my sister had knitted for my husband that I used to wear, and would lie on it whenever she could. Over the years I shared it with her.
We lived in a small community in the country, surrounded by woods and wildlife. Even though my cats were outdoor cats, I always managed to have them in the house by 07:00 at night because of the wildlife. One night when I called her, and she didn’t show up, I was truly worried. As the hours passed I called her again and again without her showing up. I went to bed heavy hearted wondering what had kept her from answering my call. We were up early the next morning, I, hoping to see Nutmeg at the door. She was still missing and I was dismayed. Gilles, my husband instead of getting ready for work, put his jeans and t-shirt on to tour the edges of the woods; he was back half an hour later with Nutmeg in his arms… some kids had caught and fastened her to a tree on a short rope… Gilles told me that she answered his calls and thus guided him to her. I was grateful to have her back home safely with us.
Four years later we moved to the Toronto area, with our cats and a 10 year old budgie. We settled happily in our new home, but Nutmeg was nervous and still unsure outside; in the first months, I went on a few search and rescue at night, looking for her …. And always she answered my calls and gladly came to me and followed me home. She eventually got used to her new surroundings, months became years and all was OK until my daughter came for a visit with her cats…
That day, we left on a beautiful morning for a trip to Niagara Falls leaving the cats in and allowing Nutmeg to stay outside, knowing that she would not relish being cooped up inside in company of strange cats. We expected to be back in time for the cat’s daily curfew but didn’t manage to get home before 09:30 that night. There was no sign of Nutmeg outside and she would not answer my calls. The next day she didn’t show up… Gabrielle suggested that we post a missing pet ad on the mail boxes in our area which we did… I made a few calls to the humane society, and other animal welfare groups in our area. My daughter eventually left with her cats People who worked at the local newspaper were generous and put an ad in the paper. I got a few calls but nothing relevant. As days went by I kept dreaming of her at night, I was distraught. Until one day a lady called and was adamant she’s seen Nutmeg in the woods by the school near her place. Nutmeg, had a calico coat, her markings could easily be recognized.
Meanwhile, I spoke to my mother over the phone who gave me her word of wisdom: Nutmeg left because she was vexed, and not worry myself, she would eventually be coming back.
It took 18 days for Nutmeg to come back home; Early on a Sunday morning after a night of thunderstorm there she was, at the door, asking to be let in. My Sunday cat was back and just like the very first day I met her… Nutmeg that I thought was lost to me was given back.
Some years later my husband work asked that we moved abroad. Laws and regulations prevented us from moving the cats with us; Huggies was getting on with age and was frail… this is when my sister, generously offered to take them under her roof until we came back home. It was the perfect solution, since the cats knew her garden well; whenever we went to visit her over the years, we always brought the cats with us. So we left them at my sister’s, knowing the cats would be well loved and cared for. I didn’t forget to leave Nutmeg’s sweater with strict instruction that it was only to come out of the drawer when I was present on a visit. A couple of years went by and while we were on a short visit, Huggies 18yo had to be put to sleep, it was a heart wrenching decision, he was such a lovable cat. Although I loved that cat very much I cowardly left the others deal with the matter. Nutmeg went on bravely for two more years before we came back home.
My sister thought that
another move would be asking too much of Nutmeg who was turning 13yo. How would she react to a new house and garden?
I agreed thinking it was the best solution and adopted instead, a couple of
kittens from a nearby farm. Now, 16 months later my sister was seriously ill in
hospital, Nutmeg seemed depressed and neglected. I felt it was time for me to
take her back, I gathered enough courage and settled the matter with my beloved
sister who readily relinquish her care to me and so, I took Nutmeg back home
with me. She lived on for another 3 years and even though she was getting on in
years, I believe she was perkier for a while teaching the younger ones how to
climb on trees and other feline tricks.
She passed away on a Sunday, last December, a week or so before Christmas, she was 18 years old. God forgive me, I wish I could have been able to ease her pain. I pray, she will forgive my ignorance. Gone is my Sunday cat although I sometimes see her shadow from the corner of my eye.
I am going through the same situation with our dog, and my story is exactly like yours! "How hard could it be", "it's just a pet", etc. Today we found out our 12 yo dog has inoperable tumors, and we have to put her down. I've been heartbroken, crying in the bathroom for the past two hours. I cannot fathom the thought of seeing her smiling at us and then .. I just can't. So I decided to go on google and do research on the subject. Yours is the first link I clicked on.. It didn't make me feel better, but it totally described my situation to a tee, so.. comforting at least. But one thing I haven't thought of is having a doctor come to the house.. I think it would be a lot more peaceful for Peanut since she hated going to the vet..
"The main reason for putting down the pet is due to more investment in time and money.." I'm putting my dog down in 10 hours because 85% of his bladder is covered by a giant tumor which has moved into his prostate and gall bladder. My parents have spent atleast 400 dollars a month on vet bills and they would spend 1000 more a month if we ever had to. Two days after his12th birthday. And we almost delayed it because were (especially me) not ready to say goodbye. Don't you dare tell me us pet owners put down our pet because we refuse to spend any more money on them or for want to spend our time with them. That's the most uneducated hurtful rude comment I have ever heard. We all love our pets or should I say siblings/children. They're a part of our family. "Nobody should take this personal" what a joke that comment is. Everybody that's had to deal with this loss will take that personal. What a completely unthoughtful person you are.
@Danielle Makin sounds like what we just went through; hyperthyroidism. I wish you the best. I know it's hard. Take care.
It has been time for a while. It is so hard to give up. Like somehow they will start to grow younger instead of older and get better again. But it is not going to happen. Everything your cat has been doing has been to tell you she needs your help. She has loved and cherished you all this time, be a friend and love and cherish her one more time. Let her go. You will cry, your heart will break and you'll walk around like the world is in a spin. No one else will be able to understand quite enough, yet you will still cry.
My best to you. Time is the great healer and time is what it takes. You'll never forget her because you cared enough to love her through all her life the way she love you all through her life.
@Karie May hi Karie May, I am going through the exact same thing. I am still not sure what to do even though the vet told me I need to put him down in the next two days. Tripper my 19 year old cat also has hyperthyroidism, but it has always been under control. 2 weeks ago he started hiding and not interested in food. I took him to the vet and they said he was anemic with possibly internal bleeding caused by possible lymphoma in the stomach. They did a bunch of tests and a blood transfusion. He didn't improve that much but started to eat that night. He was also prescribed with prednisolone for the lymphoma (the needle test could not confirm 100%). He started to have diarrhea and stopped eating next day for 3 days. I suspect it was the prednisolone and took him to a local vet but she did nothing. I had him scheduled for Chemo yesterday with my other vet. When I got to the vet, they said he was too weak to have it done. His kidneys were shutting down despite the tests showed his kidneys were fine 5 days ago. The vet said that was probably an indication of his body shutting down. So I agreed it was time to put him to sleep. She told me to take the next day to say goodbye and I asked the vet to give him some meds for the diarrhea and vomiting . I knew he was ready to go so I made a call to one of those vets will euthanize at home. When we got home, Tripper started to eat again. Because the vomiting and diarrhea stopped, he got his appetite back and started eating a lot. He didn't vomit nor had any diarrhea since then. Except that he is still hiding a bit and sleeps a lot which is a little bit more than what he normally does as a 19-year old cat, he seems to have improved - he is eating a lot, walking around when he is not sleeping. So I am really not sure if he is really ready to go. I am so worried that I am not giving him enough time to get better. I feel that the vet assumes his kidneys were shutting down because of the cancer. But it was very likely caused by the lack of nutrients due to the diarrhea caused by the prednisolone. I know they didn't mean to but it feels like they wrote him off because of his age. I wanted to talk to another vet but I am afraid he/she will tell me the same thing and accuses me of torturing him by not putting him down soon. I am so torn because I am so afraid that I am prolonging his life for me not him which is very selfish. But on the other hand, if he is really ready to die, why did he still keep eating?
@Stephen Guest thank you for your post. I believe it helps a lot to know that their are many others who share your grief and that we are not crazy because of the intense pain of loss of our beloved pets. We cared for them and nurtured them back to health when they were sick and for that they gave us their unconditional love and sometimes we even took them for granted thinking nothing bad would happen to them. You can feel very blessed that your baby lived a long and really good life because of you. In my case I went with the vet in telling me I was doing the right thing in putting him down. In hindsight I just have to believe & trust that I did the right thing for our baby but the whole process was surreal at the time and now the reality of the loss is overwhelming as we miss Zorro so much. He is in our memories and hearts forever. I'm not sure if I had to do it over I may have waited a bit longer to really make sure it was the only option because my son influenced me a lot at the time that we should do it right away that day of diagnosis because we were so afraid to see him suffer....so that's the only thing. I think most of what I have read of others they cared for their pets until they just knew it was time, that way you will know you did all you could and you will not have any regrets. All in all I would say pray and you will know when it is the right time.
My heart goes out to you and every one else here too. I'm there too- I keep thinking I hear her and that I see her, healthy, laying on the floor- I'm still crying off and on, 3 days later...
@Kenneth Santiago Yes, I so very much agree, we lost our baby just this past Friday...we had to put him down. Only 11 years and in good health up till just recently. I did not imagine my grief would be so intense and I can hardly go a few minutes without thinking of him an crying and missing him so much. I keep looking for him in all the places where he used to be thinking somehow he might be there, but I know he is gone and not coming back again. It doesn't help that I have huge guilt feelings....should have/could have/maybe if we noticed he was sick earlier, maybe if we let the vet treat him more agressivley, but now its too late we can't bring him back. Although we have 2 other cats, our Zorro was special with lots of personality that you don't find that often in cats. We love him so much!!!
@Marsha Dean Marsha - do not feel guilty about not knowing your kitty was sick. He was a cat and even though a house cat he was still a creature of the wild. What I'm trying to say is cats (and dogs) are masters at hiding discomfort and pain - in the wild to appear weak is an invitation to predators and even invite aggression from their own kind. It's only when they are truly desperately ill that they just give up trying to hide their illness. You did well by him, you found out he was suffering and you freed him from that. Knowing it would break your heart if you did this you did the most unselfish thing you could do - you went ahead and broke your heart to save him from further misery. Cry, but cry tears of joy that your little guy is free.
@Maria Pere-Perez Thank you for your words. I too will hold her paw until it's time to say goodbye, whether it comes sooner rather than later, I'll make sure she's not alone when she takes her last breath.
@Albert Herrera Hi, I just read your post, and had to write to you. Our cat Lilly, is going to be put down at 3pm today. She was having problems eating around 2/5, so we took her to the vet. They did blood work and urine test, nothing was wrong. The vet did give me medication to try and stimulate her appetite, it didn't seem to work. We brought her back on 2/10 for an ultra sound. I figured it was some type of infection. I was So wrong. There is a tumor on her liver, and her organs are all floating in some liquid. They did more test, however all cam back inconclusive. Lilly, has been doing exactly what your beloved Trish did. I have water bowls all over the house, she just stares at them. We have had her on a medication called Prednisolone since the 12th. (administered by a syringe) That's not helping. This is the WORST thing I have ever had to deal with. I suffer from 'functioning' depression, however about 6 yrs ago, I attempted suicide. I was going to try and OD on pills, well...... Lilly jumped in my lap and looked at me. I never went through with it and made a promise to her I never would again. She has been my everything. I am 42, no children, she was my purpose. Say a prayer for her, as I will for your Trish, and for everyone else who have lost their furry loved ones. Blesses, Jennifer Bradshaw
@Lela luster I hear you and very much feel your pain. I am so sorry!!!
thank you so much for understanding and I really appreciate the time you took to reply!! It helps so much too hear from others and to hear their encouraging words!!! Right now we are almost 2 weeks from losing Zorro and we still hurt and cry... but time is a healer and we are able to go on with our lives even though we will never forget our special baby!!
Hi there. I hope you're doing okay. My Twitch went to Heaven in November. Tonight when I sleep I'll ask him to say hi to your Lilly. Please never forget the sacred promise you made to her.
@Jennifer Bradshaw @Albert HerreraGet another furbaby as soon as you can. They give us so much more than they take. Jennifer, I understand about Lilly being your purpose. You will recover. And you will recover from your losses sooner if you get another cat as soon as possible. Not to replace your lost babies, but to give you purpose again. We humans seem to need that.
@Jennifer Bradshaw @Albert Herrera I am so sorry that you have to say good bye to your cat today. I have a 20 year old cat right now at the vet and they are running tests on him. I've had him for 14 years. He stopped eating 4 days ago and I have been hydrating him with pedialyte and water. Took him to the vet today and he thinks he may have stomach tumor and his thyroid is enlarged. Once we get the tests back today or tomorrow, we will make our decision. He is very lethargic but once he looks at me, I feel that he is not ready. Or maybe I am not ready. One thing I promised him is that I will never put him in pain or prolong his suffering. I want him comfortable, whether it be here on earth or in heaven. I pray for your comfort and their peaceful and pain-free passing.
@Salenri Rau @Jennifer Bradshaw@Albert Herrera , Salenri, something made me go back to this page. Maybe simply to see if Albert Herrera responded. I was shocked to see you wrote something. Yesterday was the hardest day of my life. Honest. Mark and I took Lilly to the Vet around 3. We are survivor's of hurricane Sandy, therefore our traffic pattern is beyond stupid. What I mean by that is it took us about 1/2hr, rather than 15 mins. Lilly became so awake and aware of all the construction trucks etc. She seemed so 'normal'. It made me second, third & forth guess the decision to have to put her to bed. All I can tell you is let him know that you will be fine, and he will feel better. I kept praying to God to let her go at home. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case. I had to come to terms with the fact, she was starving inside. Do I regret my decision, well...... yes, but only because of my selfish side. As my brother put it, it's an importantly kind decision. ALL the best to you. I will say a prayer for you. Please email me if you need to Jaebradshaw@gmail.com
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