I've been stalling on this post, due to sorrow and loss. Yes, terrible loss. The last two cats I had, gone now. Within the space of a few weeks, I lost both of them. They were companions to each other as well as to me. And maybe it was just as it should have been: neither had to live alone.
At the time, several weeks ago, I first noticed Bitty Kitty's hair was looking odd. But it is summer, she sheds terribly, so I didn't think too much of it. However, within a couple weeks, her hair began to knot (and she was a short-haired tabby). I took her to the vet, and she was already in kidney failure. At 12 years old, she had already been a picky eater but had just about stopped altogether.
For several months, my other cat, Slinky (age 16) had a small tumor on her neck. The vet had said it was probably related to her having FIV; so as long as it didn't bother her, I just let it go. She still ate her food, seemed okay. Once Bitty was gone though, she just went downhill. FIV can truly sneak up and lay a cat low.
At the time, I'd also occasionally allowed a cat, Mister Mr., to come onto their porch. Someone had obviously dropped him here; he was neutered. At any rate, I never planned to keep him and found someone who had a farm to take him. He was a beautiful, large cat -- but his nature was such that the feral streak made him terribly unpredictable. He would scratch for no apparent reason. (My skin is not what it once was, and scratches don't heal easily.)
Now, for the first time in 40 years, I do not have an indoor cat. I still provide a "kitty buffet" on my carport with dry food and fresh water. IF we had a feral program (trap/spay/neuter/release) I could definitely cut down on the neighborhood cat population. As it is, I cannot get my hands on these feral's, but at least they don't go hungry.
Otherwise, life goes on about the same. My brother-in-law is almost recuperated from heart valve replacement, but still weak on occasion.
My dogs are doing okay, though I had a scare with Oscar. He had some benign lumps on his chest, then developed one on his paw that started growing. The vet thought it wise to remove those, and while he was at it, he cleaned Oscar's teeth. Turned out he lost 3 teeth! But the little devil didn't seem to act as if he'd had anything done! Back to his same little peppy walk and sweet nature. However, I am waiting to hear from the biopsy report.
My other two dogs are well. Next up though, Rambo will get his teeth cleaned. He's 9 years old, so probably going to lose one or two teeth.
Ah, so it goes with the pets. I miss my cats terribly; every night they came inside, and perched on my lap or shoulder when I would lie on the sofa watching TV. And frankly, I just miss holding them, the quietness and beauty of a cat. Years ago I was diagnosed with an allergy to cats, but had several and vowed to take care of them till the end. I guess over the years I've had around 30 cats at various times. So it's a huge void in my life...
I'm going to take some time and decide whether to have another indoor cat. See if my allergy problems improve (so far can't tell any difference!). Of course, I have the dogs to care for too. Just wait & see, I guess.
As for my work, several of the novels I've promoted continue to sell. Nothing to brag about, but steady, regular sales every day. I'm outlining for a couple other novels, but still procrastinating. One of these days I'm going to "apply the seat of my pants to the chair" and delve into writing another novel. Hopefully soon! For now, I'm reading voraciously.
The weather has taken a strange turn: it has been in the 50s at night, 70s during the day. Unheard of in July here in the South. Wish it would stay this way the remainder of the summer.
With that, I'm closing for today.