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Baumgarten: Will I make a good mommy someday?

If you would have come up to me Tuesday in the Walmart aisle and asked me if I wanted children, I might have broken down and cried right then and there.

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I’ve been wanting to get something of my own to take care ever since I moved into the apartment in Dickinson, and I finally got the chance on Wednesday.

An old friend saw a post on my Facebook page, where my dad was pictured with my aunt’s cat. The black creature — and I love black cats — was sprawled on the armrest, legs hanging over each side. This was, of course, the perfect moment to get a candid picture for my mom.

I don’t know how she did it, but the flash made it look like the cat was either possessed by a demon or someone had plugged its tail into an outlet so it could recharge, and the glowing, green light was proof it was fully charged.

Naturally, I put it online with the description, “This photo makes me rethink getting a cat.” Most people wondered if it was because of a fear that Dad would make my kitty’s eyes glow. But one friend said she had a pet that needed a home. His name is Leo.

Leo is an interesting cat. If anything, he is more of a dog. When I first met him, he was sitting on the ottoman. His owner said, “Here, Leo,” and he came running at me. He jumped onto his hind legs and pawed at my leg for attention. Then he went to the couch with me and lied down on his back, feet spread apart as if he was asking for a belly rub. I instantly fell in love.

So, I found myself in the pet aisle of Walmart, trying to decide what to get my new friend. I was even humming as I bought toys and brushes.

But then I got to the food section. You don’t realize how much food is available to a cat until you go down this long lane. There is food for kittens, 1-year-old cats, 6-year-old cats, dry cat food, wet cat food, food for cats with diabetes, cats with hairballs, cats that need special care, outdoor cats, indoor cats, cats that don’t like grain, cats that don’t like gluten. Yes, the gluten fad has reached the feline world.

My head was spinning as I tried to pick the right one. I had never had to buy cat food before. I soon realized I had no idea what I was doing, and I hadn’t even gone down the cat litter aisle — That’s much worse.

I know it seems silly, but it made me really question things. It made me wonder how new mothers feel when shopping for children. Caring for a cat is far from caring for a child, but it was still scary. What if Leo didn’t like the food? What if he ignored the toys I bought him? What if, in a fit of hatred for my lack of knowledge, he ripped my clothes apart?

Well, I didn’t have to worry. As soon as I let him out, he explored and went straight for the food. Then he climbed into my bed, like it was his, and assumed the daddy position — imagine your father laid out on the recliner after Thanksgiving dinner, belly up, arms and legs sprawled out and head to the side.

Leo is a cool cat, and I think I’ll make a good mommy, at least for him.

Baumgarten is the assistant editor of The Dickinson Press. Email her at Read her past posts on her blog at

April Baumgarten
April Baumgarten joined the Grand Forks Herald May 19, 2015, as the news editor. She works with a team of talented journalists and editors, who strive to give the Grand Forks area the quality news readers deserve to know. Baumgarten grew up on a ranch 10 miles southeast of Belfield, where her family continues to raise registered Hereford cattle. She double majored in communications and history/political science at Jamestown (N.D.) College, now known as University of Jamestown. During her time at the college,  she worked as a reporter and editor-in-chief for the university's newspaper, The Collegian. Baumgarten previously worked for The Dickinson Press as the Dickinson city government and energy reporter in 2011 before becoming the editor of the Hazen Star and Center Republican. She then returned to The Press as a news editor, where she helped lead an award-winning newsroom in recording the historical oil boom.