My Aloha Animal - Sweetheart
Hi, my name is Carol Arney and I’m Aloha
Animal Hospital’s newest photojournalist.
This is my cat Sweetheart - who defied the
prognosis of another vet when she lived to see
2009. Sweetheart is my living miracle and this
is our journey together.
I adopted her from the Kauai Humane Society
in December, 1995. Sweetheart was the only
possible name for this cat. She is so gentle and
loving. They estimated that she was about 8 months
old, but very small for her age. She had no health
problems until she was about 2.
At that time,
we moved to Kona and she developed Feline
Stomatitis - a severe inflammation of the gums.
After several years, the condition worsened to
the point that I had to make a difficult decision
- to have all of her teeth extracted
It was a tough
surgery, but within a week, she was healthier
than ever and eating even dry kibble! This showed
me what a strong cat she was. Although toothless,
she adapted quickly and remained my happy
indoor cat for the next 10 years.
But in December of 2007, all of
that changed. She started spending
hours pacing in small circles
(about the size of a car tire.)
The pacing seemed almost panicky.
She also started having trouble
holding down food. I rushed
her to our vet at the time -
the Keauhou Veterinary Clinic -
where they gave me some shocking
news: Sweetheart was blind!
After many tests, we learned she had extremely
high blood pressure which had damaged her
eyes. But that wasn’t the worst part of it -
Sweetheart also had feline chronic renal failure
(kidney failure). Additionally, she developed acid
indigestion (a common CRF symptom) which
caused her to lose weight.
We put Sweetheart on an aggressive therapy -
two types of eye drops (in the hopes of regaining
her sight), blood pressure medicine and Pepcid
AC. That winter, a special veterinary
Dr. Maya Yamagata,
came to Kona and examined Sweetheart.
That’s when I learned that she would never
regain her sight. Her retinas in both eyes had
detached. I was heartbroken for her. No more
bird or gecko watching. No more watching in
the window for my return from work.
By this time, though, her acid indigestion was
stabilized. She could eat regularly, but only Hills
Prescription KD (cans) with minced chicken.
Even other flavors
caused her to
vomit. She took
amlodipine with a
tasty sauce called
treat became one
of the highlights
of her day.
It was April of
2008 when her
Kona vet gave her just six months to live.
- a year and a half later - Sweetheart is still
stable. She sleeps most of the time, is confined
to one room so she won’t hide or get lost, and eats
and drinks regularly. She knows every inch of her
room by smell, touch and memory. She is still
an affectionate and cuddly cat. Although she still
runs in her little circles from time to time, she is
content and very loved.
We have since moved to Oahu and become part
of the Aloha Animal Hospital Associates family.
I know Sweetheart is in good hands.
Like most “pet parents,” I sometimes try to turn
back the clock and wonder if we could have caught
her condition earlier. Our first Kona vet (who shall
remain nameless) told me that Sweetheart didn’t
need a yearly exam or vaccines because she was
an indoor cat without interaction with other
cats. As a result, we stopped her annual exams.
Sometimes I wish I had continued her exams so
we could have caught the high blood pressure,
blindness and CRF.
But, true to her name, Sweetheart will typically
curl up on my lap when I have these thoughts
and begin to purr. She is now over
14 years old, which is a ripe old
age for a cat. She may have lost
her teeth and eyesight,
but she has never lost a
single drop of her