Dear Miles: “I Wish I’d Ended Up with My College Boyfriend”

MILES profile picToday is a very special day in the Condellberry household — Miles turns 10! It was just under four years ago, when Miles was six and I was eight months pregnant with Jackson, that Miles suddenly — like over the course of a few hours — got very sick (from complications of his just-diagnosed diabetes) and almost died. But he beat the odds and survived, and we count every day with him since as a gift. We love him so much.

Those of you who have been reading the site since the beginning probably remember the wise and surprisingly philosophical advice Miles has shared in the past through his guest column, Dear Miles, but what you don’t know is that he’s been slowly, between naps and bird-watching, working on a book of columns for the last couple of years. And now it’s on its way to publication! Later this summer, you will be able to buy a copy of his first collection, tentatively titled: Dear Miles: Letters to a Cat. And in honor of Miles’ 10th birthday today, he’s sharing an excerpt from the book below:

Dear Miles,

Every time we eat in a sushi restaurant, Joel makes a big deal about how he’s switching to chopsticks for good. “I know it’s unpopular to say,” Joel announces. “But chopsticks are superior to the knife and fork. They’re simple, elegant, and efficient. I’m buying my own pair and I will use them for every meal I eat, consequences be dammed!”

But then he never does it. Joel just goes back to using a knife and fork his next meal and all his meals after that. Whenever I mention it, Joel becomes despondent, excuses himself from the table, and watches “Wheel of Fortune” with the sound off.

I wish I had ended up with my college boyfriend, Greg. I heard he’s a successful pediatric dentist living in Shaker Heights.

— Isabelle

Dear Isabelle,

I eat with my head. Wendy serves my food on a little plate, I plant my face in the pile of Fancy Feast and go to town.
Sometimes I close my eyes and picture myself in an open field on a clear starry night. Other times I eat with my eyes wide open, staring directly at the food as I devour it with wild abandon.
After the feeding frenzy has subsided, I sit peacefully on the coffee table in the living room and bang out farts.

Yours truly,

Dear Miles,

Well, I give up. I’ve tried a hundred ways to be Lynda’s friend and she just won’t have anything to do with me. I always say “Good morning!” when I pass her desk, I offer to bring back coffee whenever I go to Starbucks, and, just now, I invited her to girls’ night out. Lynda couldn’t be bothered. A flat: “Buzz off, Lorraine,” is all she muttered without even looking up from her phone. My name isn’t Lorraine. My name is Kimberly. There isn’t anyone named Lorraine in our office. I stood there confused. Then Lynda’s phone rang and she answered it like this: “Whadup bee-atch?”

Lynda is so interesting and I wish she would be my best friend.

– Kimberly

Dear Kimberly,

People say cats are aloof and, man, is that the cold hard truth. Most of the time Simone acts like we’ve never even met. I try not to let it hurt my feelings but it does. I understand Simone resents sharing Wendy, especially with someone she considers to be an “unsophisticated buffoon.” But we’re the only cats in the apartment. It would be nice if we could have a normal conversation every once in a while — talk about birds, trade notes on the litter box, or make fun of the man’s girlishly high laugh.

Sometimes – almost never – Simone sits next to me on the bed and we take naps side by side. It’s nice.
Simone is very complicated and she makes me nervous.

Yours truly,

Dear Miles,

Charlie is a district manager now but would you believe he still took the time to sign my birthday card? He wrote: “Happy birthday, Barbara!” What a pleasant surprise. On my card from five years ago Charlie wrote: “Happy B-day! Don’t have too much fun!” I still chuckle every time I read it. What a sense of humor that man has.

His wife sure was one lucky lady. Well, not so lucky, I suppose. She did get hit by a truck. But you know what I mean.

Charlie’s birthday is August 17th and you can tell too because he is such a Leo!

I am having a very good birthday.

— Barbara

Dear Barbara,

I was adopted by Wendy when I was four months old. She thinks my birthday is May 28th, but it’s just a guess. I don’t remember much from my first four months but I remember some things, and there are times I miss my family. Some days I really miss my mom.

On my birthday, Wendy gives me an extra can of Fancy Feast and the man sneaks me a bowl of ice cream. I appreciate it. I really do.

Yours truly,


  1. Yes! We love you Miles 🙂

  2. Happy Birthday, Miles! Congrats on your book! I can’t wait to read it.

  3. Miles misses his mom. And there must be some dust in my eye, because it’s tearing up.

  4. Happy Birthday Miles! I can’t wait to read your book 🙂 You’re so lucky to have such nice servants who will publish your work for you. My dogs think they need to write a book, but their grammar is atrocious so I refuse.

  5. Today is my daughter’s birthday (two years old!) I am excited to tell her about her famous birthday buddy! 🙂 (Also born this day in history: Gladys Knight, Ian Fleming, and King George I.)

  6. Dear Miles,
    Happy birthday, man. Usually I hate other cats, but for you I make an exception. And that’s because I’ve never had to share my food bowl with you. When TaraMonster travels, she sends me to “Grandpa’s” house where I have to hiss at Jose, and Tiger, and Peaches to remind them that only I am allowed to eat from the food bowl. Anyway, TaraMonster basically ignores my birthday because “Who knows when that feral floozy had you? Could’ve been July! Could’ve been August! It’s a mystery.” Maybe I can convince TaraMonster to give me an extra can of Fancy Feast (maybe for all of July and all of August, since she’s not sure) by making her feel guilty about ignoring my birthday for the past 6 years. Or maybe I should try to convince the Man. He’s the only Man TaraMonster has brought around that I’ve ever liked. I’ve never peed on his shirts even once and I show him my belly all the time. I’ll remind him of that when I ask for the extra Fancy Feast. Man, Miles, you’re an inspiration.
    Stay cool,

    1. Can I just say that I love how all of the pets call their lady-owners by name and their man-owners “the man.” Its so cute! My husband and I got our dog together… do you think he would call us both by name? I think he likes me better (because I’m the pushover with the table scraps), so maybe he would still call us Stephanie and The Man.

      Rather than celebrate our dog’s birthday, we celebrate his “came home from the pound day”– March 6th. And by celebrate I mean I said “hey, it’s Raider’s one year anniversary with us!” patted him on the head, and then we went back to what I was doing.

      1. I’m pretty sure my dogs call me inappropriate names, not my given name. And I KNOW they call my husband mean names. I can just feel them cussing at us sometimes.

      2. Avatar photo JenjaRose says:

        You should hear what my cockatiel calls me. 🙁 I have a bad feeling about some of them squawks.

  7. As someone who just fed her two cats Fancy Feast and then had one bang out a fart when I picked him up for a cuddle I just…. I can RELATE, man. Miles seems like someone with whom I’d get along.

  8. But what I want to know is what Miles thinks about 13-year-old cats having sex.
    (Oh, wait – is Miles neutered? Doh! Ooh! Never mention sex to someone who is neutered!!)
    Um, er, uh, what I mean Miles is, what do you think about 13-year-old socks?

  9. Happy birthday to Miles, many happy returns.
    My cat, Sir Charles of Barley, only seems to write melancholic bad poetry. It’s awful. Perhaps Miles can give him some pointers sometime.

  10. Can I just say how much I LOVE that there are so many cat ladies on here?? My two kitties, Opal and Nigel send their love to Miles!! Nigel has a Gotcha Day coming up next week so an extra can of Fancy Feast may be in his future too!

  11. Happy birthday Miles!!! I had to guess at my cat’s bday, too. He *seems* very much like a Libra so I just selected Oct 1.

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