Garden Cat Gives Supercenter "Down-Home" Feel

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At a time when Wal-Mart has been getting some bad press nationwide, along comes a ray of good news right here at the local Supercenter.

The future of Baby, a cat who hangs out around the local Wal-Mart garden center, is apparently secure.

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Baby, the very healthy-looking cat that calls the Wal-Mart garden center home, has been spayed, examined for infectious diseases and administered all necessary shots.

Baby, for those of you who haven't visited the garden center lately, has called the place home for five years, even during the time when it was undergoing extensive remodeling.

Most Rim Country residents know Baby. In fact, many customers make it a point to enter through the garden gate just to see her.

At least that's the claim that a group of 241 Wal-Mart customers made in a letter to store management urging that the cat -- best described as a dilute tortie-tiger mix -- be allowed to stay.

Garden center employees have cared for the cat since she first showed up, and even had her spayed, tested for contagious diseases, and vaccinated (compliments of Paws in the Park).

"She keeps the mice away, and tries to keep the other stray cats out of there, which is very good," garden center employee Gwen Zissler said.

She took the letter and signatures to store manager Quinn Cremer after she heard the cat might be removed from the store. Cremer reassured her that Baby's future is secure no matter where that might be.

If it ever comes to having to remove Baby, Cremer promises to help find her a permanent home. That's good enough for Zissler.

Zissler believes Baby's presence gives Wal-Mart a small-town feel.

"It makes Wal-Mart more of a down-home kind of place to shop," she said.

Or as the letter from the customers put it, it wasn't unusual for a shopkeeper's family pet to be the official greeter in Payson's early days:

"Baby's presence gives the feeling that maybe there is a little bit of heart and love left over, even in a Supercenter society."

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