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First Felines: White House Cats & their Presidents

First Felines: White House Cats & their Presidents

Posted by Andrea on 10th Jan 2021

In honor of the upcoming inauguration and swearing-in of the new President, now is the perfect time to look back at those cats who have made a difference in the lives of the First Families. Over time, much attention has been paid to the many First Canines. So, let us look back at the wonderful felines who have graced the White House and meant so much to its residents.

It’s a fact that nearly every administration has welcomed a pet or a number of pets to their stay at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. in Washington, D.C. Beyond the usual canine and feline residents, various First Families have counted amongst their pets: bears, roosters, sheep, and even an alligator. Each of those took up residence in the White House!

While not all Presidents have had as many pets as Theodore Roosevelt, who had over 20 various animals, it does seem that love of pets has truly been a Presidential trait over the years. A pet-free White House has happened only twice; the first was with President James K. Polk, who served from 1845 to 1849. The second was with Donald J. Trump.

As you know, it is the dogs who have led as Presidential companions. Fala Roosevelt, Barney Bush, and Bo Obama are just a few of the canines who have united pet lovers from both parties. But let’s take a look at the lesser-known felines who have brightened the lives of the First Families. Below, are some of the former First Felines.

Tabby and Dixie Lincoln: President Lincoln left his dog Fido in Illinois when he came to Washington. However, when his Secretary of State gifted him with Tabby and Dixie, he could not have been happier. Honest Abe even fed this pair from his dinner table. Abraham Lincoln went on to become a major fan and lover of cats.

Siam Hayes: The Nation’s 19th Commander in Chief was Rutherford B Hayes. Though not the most memorable of Presidents, Hayes received one of the first Siamese cats as a present from a diplomat based in Bangkok, Thailand. Feline enthusiasts can note this is one of the earliest appearances of this breed in the U.S. Siam was known to wander the halls, amusing guest who visited the White House.

Tiger Coolidge: President Calvin Coolidge was an avid cat lover. He kept numerous cats as pets during his tenure at the White House. His favorite was a striped American Shorthair named Tiger. When Tiger once went missing, the President made a radio announcement in order to locate his wayward feline. Needless to say, Tiger was recovered and often accompanied his President on walks around the White House and its grounds.

Tom Kitten Kennedy: The whole Kennedy clan was famous for being pet lovers. But because John F. Kennedy was allergic, their little Tom Kitten became the official best friend of their young daughter, Caroline Kennedy.

Socks Clinton: Perhaps the most famous White House feline, as well as the most recent, was Socks, the pet of the Clintons. Adopted when Bill Clinton was still Governor of Arkansas, this tuxedo cat was a media star with his own Wikipedia page. He was also the star of a children’s book written by then-First Lady, Hillary Clinton.

We wish the newest First Family best of luck during their upcoming residence at the White House. We know that President Biden has a love of his dogs. Do you think he might adopt a cat for good measure?

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