My absurd life (Photos by Colin Rigley)

Yes, my boyfriend and I had a conversation about buying a dollhouse for our cat. And yes, I recognize that to CatCat1 the average person—preoccupied with a mortgage and two point whatever Darling Children—buying a dollhouse for my cat is about the most frivolous, extravagant decision imaginable. It’s practically deviant.

And I don’t really care.

Because what’s the point of freedom, if you don’t occasionally wander beyond the white picket fence and do something that makes your neighbors scratch their head a little? (Not more than once a year or so, of course. We don’t want anyone to strain their imagination, after all.)

What’s the point of going to work eight hours each day—an act that generally entails doing what you’re told and repressing certain instincts—only to come home and take out the trash and confer with the Mr. about switching to a different brand of toilet paper because well, gosh, two-ply might be more expensive but it’s just so much more comfortable. I apologize. Asses do not exist in this scenario and, therefore, neither does toilet paper. And unless, of course, coming home from work and taking out the trash and talking about grocery shopping really is the life that inspires you. In which case, a long life and happy grocery shopping to you. And I mean that. I really do.

Which is why I would hope to hear “long life and happy dollhouse shopping to you” from people who drop by my house and discover Cat Cat rolling ecstatically in her pink princess dollhouse. As opposed to the eye CatCat2rolls and snarky comments about how bored I must be and the cat isn’t really a child. Trust me, I fully recognize that my cats are not children. You see, I don’t want children. Again, if you happen to be someone who does, long life and happy child shopping or bearing or rearing to you. Sincerely.

But I don’t. I do, however, want cats. And eventually a dog. So I’m well aware that my cats are not children. And the fact that they’re not human children doesn’t mean I don’t worry about them, doesn’t mean they’re not a significant financial investment, doesn’t mean I don’t think about their comfort and happiness and what I can do to improve both. Right now that means finding a dollhouse for Cat Cat.

Allow me to explain.

Several days ago I borrowed a dollhouse from an artist—the same artist who created the beautiful artwork for the cover of my book. Without giving away too much, the dollhouse is going to play a role in my book release party on Friday, Aug. 30. After wrestling the three-level behemoth into the house and situating it in the kitchen, something strange happened. At least, I would say it was strange if I wasn’t accustomed to living with two cats. Cat Cat immediately began rubbing against the dollhouse and within several minutes had taken up residence on the second floor, looking delighted with herself. Jack gave the house the requisite sniff—everything that comes through the house must be inspected by the whiskered masters of the house—then sauntered back to his station by the food bowl. But Cat Cat was ecstatic. She naps in the house. She sits there quietly and watches while Colin cooks. She rubs her face on the furnishings and trim. She moves between levels, occupying each over the course of the day.

After the party, the house will be returned to its rightful, youthful owner. Cat Cat, who is a delicately wired, CatCat3highly strung nutjob, will be beside herself. And there is nothing sadder in the entire world than Cat Cat’s mew when she is beside herself. A “reasonable” person—the aforementioned picket fence dweller, for example—would not think anymore on the subject. They might buy a dog bed for Fido, or maybe even a doghouse. But that’s normal, and therefore entirely reasonable. To spend $40 on a secondhand dollhouse intended for a human child to improve the happiness of a mere cat is utterly ridiculous.

Well, I live in a house with a trampoline in the front yard (again, no children, my adult boyfriend and I actually use it), a half-dozen Ninja Turtles on the kitchen window (that would be my boyfriend’s doing), an arsenal of nerf and water guns (if they were actual weapons, half the country would be high-fiving me but I just use them for fun so commence eye-rolling). I write for a living. Perhaps that’s the most illogical thing of all, to imagine that there’s still a living to be made off the activity I love doing better than anything else. But here I am. Writing. Editing. In a house with Ninja Turtles and a trampoline and, possibly, soon, a dollhouse. For my cat. Whose name is Cat Cat. (Another story for another day.)

I’m passionate about the life I’ve built for myself. If I wasn’t, if the cats and boyfriend and trampoline and books were mere accessories that looked nice or made for a good punchline, I wouldn’t bother to defend it. But I think Spamalot had it right by concluding with the imperative: “Find your grail.” Not a grail. Or the grail. But your grail. And don’t be surprised when it doesn’t look like anyone else’s.



  1. Sounds totally reasonable to me. I’m sure my cat would be all over a dollhouse too, and I would totally buy one for him. And a little bit for me.

  2. To quote Sheryl Crow, “If it makes you happy, it can’t be that bad.”


  1. […] is why I was delighted to learn that one of my oddball adventures actually served as inspiration for the first chapter of my friend and collaborator Mignon […]

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