Balin Comisar

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aka: Orange Guy, Bales, Shat B—his breath frequently doesn’t smell so good

Balin about to jump into the nicely arranged blocks for Isaac's quilt.

And finally, the strangest story of all…

Born: Marchish 2003

Adopted: August 2003—the weekend of the BIG power outage (the one across the entire east coast and…Michigan)


  • human food (meat, eggs, milk, bread, ice cream)

  • wrestling with Orion and Kinsa

  • causing mischief

  • kids


  • Nothing

Talents: (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 a second.

  • 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.


Balin being...Balin.

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 way.

Adoption Story: 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 her 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.