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Here Kitty, Kitty…

kittyCats in the White House?

Agile, mischievous, cuddly, and quirky are some of the many colorful words used to describe cats. These beloved feline creatures are great human companions and often cost less than dogs to care for. Per spots.com, pet ownership statistics show that 42.7 million, or 35.7% of American households, own cats. And they have an important historical legacy. We often hear stories about our President’s dogs, such as George H.W. Bush’s English Springer Spaniel, Millie, Bill Clinton’s Chocolate Labrador, Buddy, and President Biden’s two German Shepherds, Champ and Major, but did you know that cats have a history of living in the White House, too?

Abe & The Love of Cats

America’s beloved sixteenth President, Abraham Lincoln, was known for his adoration of felines. In fact, he had two cats named Tabby and Dixie while in the White House. It was told that he could play with them for hours. National Park Service shares some accounts, “When asked if her husband had a hobby, Mary Todd Lincoln replied, ‘cats.’” Lincoln was also known to take in strays. As the Civil War was drawing to an end, Lincoln discovered three kittens in a telegraph hut. He inquired about their mother and discovered she was dead. Not only did he make sure that the kittens were fed and cared for, but Lincoln also ensured that they found good homes.

Memorable White House Cats

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue was also home to many treasured first cats, including Gerald Ford’s daughter’s cat Shan Shein, a curious Siamese who loved to hang out in the Lincoln bedroom. Carter’s daughter Amy also had a Siamese cat, named Misty Malarky Ying Yang. It is said that the cat meowed whenever the first daughter practiced her violin. Clinton’s black cat Socks became famous and had a book and song written about him. While most presidents brought pets to the White House, only James K. Polk, Andrew Johnson, and Donald Trump did not have presidential pets. When questioned about it, the 45th President answered honestly that he was too busy to care for one.

Feline on the Hill?

Presidential dogs, Champ and Major Biden, have garnered a lot of attention and even have their own Instagram page. However, some “time-out” away from the White House was needed after Major bit a White House Staff member. The Bidens explained that the dogs were not used to strangers due to the pandemic. A March Daily News article questions, “…if the Bidens’ dog was already Major-ly stressed out, what will happen when Felix cat-apults into his territory?” Perhaps the furry Executive Office twosome require more training before a kitty can be safely brought in. When the day comes for the President to introduce a cat on the Hill, it is hoped that everything will go purr-fectly!

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Dewey
3 months ago

I pity any cat that would have to live in the White House during the next 3 and 1/2 years.

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