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aka: Orange Guy, Bales, Shat B—his breath frequently doesn’t smell so
Balin about to jump into the nicely arranged blocks
for Isaac's quilt.
And finally, the strangest
story of all…
weekend of the BIG power outage (the one across the entire east coast
human food (meat,
eggs, milk, bread, ice cream)
wrestling with Orion and
(Well, maybe a few of these should be untalents)
Balin never lands on his feet. In fact, if you set
him down watch out. Don’t set him to close to the edge of anything,
he’ll fall off and land on his back. If you set him on the floor, make
sure his legs are down and ready to support him.
Craig has been trying to teach him to “speak” to get food. This
has resulted in a very silent, slightly confused cat who jumps up in
guests’ laps at mealtimes and steals off of our plates if we get up for
Recently, Balin has
figured out how to open doors. To open the door under the kitchen sink
(to steal food from the trashcan), he slips a paw around the upper
corner, then gets the entire top of the door hooked under his front
arm pits. He then delicately tip-toes backwards until the cabinet is
opened. While we were cat sitting at Decky's last week, we heard a
banging outside. Suddenly, Balin appeared in the upstairs hallway. He
had managed to get his paw under the corner of the screen door and
pull it open--the banging was from his initial failed attempts.
And one more, Balin doing what he does best. Craig had Balin draped
around his shoulders at the table, but Balin decided he'd rather be
licking Craig's plate than just being a Kitty Shawl.
Balin also never quite figures out when he isn’t wanted. He drove
Endora crazy trying to play with her. She would beat the crap out of him,
but he’d shake himself off and come back for more.
He is the only cat we’ve ever met who is so malleable. Our
youngest neighbor totes him around like a sack of potatoes and he never
complains. You can pick him up and put him on your lap and he won’t move
until you move him. If you want to go through the front door and he’s in
the way, don’t bother shooing him with your foot. All that results in is
Balin getting pushed over on his side. You have to role him out of the
afternoon that Decky and Wendy took Mama Kitty to be put to sleep, the
power went out. It was about 100 degrees and no power anywhere from here
to the East Coast. That means no gasoline. People were just pulling off
the interstate when they ran low on gas and waiting it out. That means no
air conditioning, low water pressure and no electric stoves (we have gas).
To beat the heat inside, Wendy and Decky went for a walk. Everyone was out
on their porches grilling their dinners.
Decky stopped to talk to every cat
they met including a few rocks she
thought were cats. About a mile from home, they passed what is
affectionately referred to as “the Crack House”. It isn’t a crack
house in the strictest sense, but the residents are generally all users of
recreational substances. That day was no exception. Decky stopped to talk
to a kitten that was sitting on one of the women’s amazingly shelf-like
bosom. Next thing Wendy knew, an orange cat had run out and collapsed at
feet. “Do you want him? His owner is getting evicted and can’t keep
him. She’s really strung out on crack.” Decky and Wendy took one look
at the house and one look at the flea and scrape-covered cat and
ran…with the cat, of course. It wasn’t until they were half-way home
that they realized how strange it was that a cat who didn’t even know
them was letting them carry him so far and on such a hot day.
Wendy named him Balin within a block and called him Balin so much
that he knew his name by the time they got home. Wendy called inside to
Craig to come meet Balin. Craig assumed this must be one of Decky’s
boyfriends, so he was a little surprised to see an orange cat in the front
yard. “Who is that?” he asked. “That is Balin,” Wendy replied.
Balin spent his first night in quarantine with us in the basement.
Wendy woke up every few hours and called to him. Balin always responded by
pouncing on our make-shift bed. The next morning Ypsilanti got power
back—before most other places—so we went in search of a vet. The only
place we found open was being staffed by one vet tech who drew Balin’s
blood and showed us how to read the FIV/FLV test. After an initial panic
when we misread the test as positive, we found out Balin was okay and
would be staying with us after all. He has become Craig’s cat mostly,
but is willing to love anyone who wants to love him including random
people he meets on the street.