Being a president of a nation doesn’t spare anyone to be an animal lover. Even many of the former US Presidents have pets like cats that lived with them in the White House. Obviously, some of them grew in the farm that’s why they really have interest to animals. This is one of the reasons why many of them have brought their pets when they were elected as US President.
Presidents with Cats in the White House
- Abraham Lincoln – The love for animals by President Lincoln was testified by his stepmother. He’s very considerate not only with his children but even with animals. Even at young age, Abraham Lincoln had learned to rescue animals and tender horses. Lincoln’s household was a haven for animals that’s why when he became president of the US, two kittens were presented.
As compared to other US Presidents who prefer horses and dogs, Abraham Lincoln was the first ever President who brought a feline in the White House. The cat was called Tabby and it opened the door for cats in succeeding generations. Lincoln again found three kittens in the middle of winter when he visited General Grant’s headquarters and brought them to the White House. The love for animals by President Lincoln was succeeded by his son Tad.
- Calvin Coolidge – When Calvin Coolidge became a US President and the family lived in the White House, the White House seemed like a zoo including cats. The Coolidge family had four cats named Tiger, Timmy, Blackie and Smokey. Tiger loved to explore and became famous when it went missing. President Coolidge appealed to the people for help through a radio address just to find Tiger. Blackie lived in the White House along with Tiger and he loves hanging out in the kitchen rather than being with the Coolidge. Aside from cats, the Coolidge family also have birds, dogs, raccoon, a small kangaroo and other exotic animals.
- Rutherford Hayes – President Hayes had received a Siamese cat as a gift given by the American Consul in Bangkok in November 1878. Siam was the first ever Siamese cat to live in the White House. The Siamese cat has a remarkable mahogany color and because it was well behaved, Siam was allowed to roam around the White House at will. They had two other cats named Miss Pussy and Piccolomini. They also had different species of birds as well as chickens and pigeons.
- Theodore Roosevelt – When the Roosevelt family moved into the White House, they brought along their six-toed, gray cat named Slippers. This cat used to fall asleep in the hallway. They had another cat named Tom Quartz They also own other animals including dogs, a pig, a garter snake, a pony, a rat, a hen, guinea pigs and a rooster. It was during the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt that animals almost took over the White House. Some suggested that the President loved the pets more than his children did.
- John F. Kennedy – The daughter of JFK owned a feline that also lived with them in the White House. However, since President Kennedy had allergy to cats, they decided to let Tom Kitten live with Mary Gallagher, one of the staff of the White House. Tom was only allowed to stay in the White House when the president wasn’t around. His gray color and yellow eyes made him attractive to reporters who loved to photograph him. When the cat died, an obituary was posted in one of the Washington newspapers.
- Jimmy Carter – Amy Carter, the daughter of President Jimmy Carter owned a Siamese cat named Misty Malarky Ying Yang who lived with the First Family in the White House. The President’s daughter also had a Springer Spaniel puppy named Gritz that became popular and often made the news.
- Bill Clinton – The 42nd President of the United States also brought a feline friend from Arkansas to the White House. Socks, as the pet was fondly called, was adopted by the family when Chelsea Clinton saw the kitten playing outside and brought it inside the Governor’s Mansion. When Bill Clinton became President, they moved into the White House with Socks where it became a national sensation. But, Socks wasn’t able to get along well with the Golden Retriever Buddy. Socks despised Buddy at first sight. Socks starred in a video game created in 1993 for Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo, but it was never released to the public. He also appeared in different TV shows, chosen as one of the characters in a cartoon series. Socks, perhaps is the only feline in the White House that appeared in stamps with the President and stayed in the White House until the end of the president’s term.
- George W. Bush – President Bush was also a cat owner even during when he served as Governor of Texas. He owned three cats, but one has died. One of the pets was given to a family friend and was not able to live in the White House. Good for India, another feline pet of the family that has given the opportunity to stay in the White House with the family. India is reclusive and shy and prefers to work out of the limelight. But, protest was held against Bush by a citizen’s group in India because they thought that it was an insult for having such name of the cat. The name of the cat was derived from the nickname of Ruben Sierra who is fondly called “El Indio.”
- Ronald Reagan – He was not only a good president but also an animal lover. He owned two cats, Sara and Cleo. Ronald Reagan also owned different breeds of dogs including a Siberian husky, Belgian sheepdog, Golden retriever, an Irish Setter. He also owned and rode horses.
- Gerald Ford – Just like other US Presidents, Gerald Ford brought his pets in the White House. His daughter Susan owned a Siamese cat that they called Shan. Aside from Shan, they also brought a Golden retriever named Liberty along with the pups.
- Woodrow Wilson – When Woodrow Wilson was elected as US President, his family had brought different pets in the White House including cats, a bull terrier, a greyhound, sheep and songbirds.
Cats have become part of the political history of many US Presidents. Due to their recognized contribution to every cat owner, we can say that felines are not only the best pets but also a perfect addition to a family regardless of their unique situations in life.