But Biden will add something to the legacy: A History of Presidential Cats


President-Elect Joe Biden will move into the White House after his inauguration in January, and he will bring new policies, his wife Dr. Jill Biden and – a cat. In addition to the dogs he is bringing back to the White House with his two German Shepherds, Champ and Major, after four years of administration without pets, there is now news that the Bidens will also be bringing a cat.

There’ s a history of pets of the President in the White House, especially dog companions. But there have also been a few cats who called 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. their home, though not for over 10 years. Since George W. Bush with his pet India, there has not been a cat in the White House, but Bush Jr. was not the first president to have a cat. Read on to find out who America’s cat-loving presidents were.

Abraham Lincoln

Peter Lincoln was known as an avid cat lover. During his time in the White House he had two cats, Tabby and Dixie, and because of his affection for the four-legged creatures he also brought in strays. There are many reports from his contemporaries and also from his wife about the cat love of the president.

Rutherford Hayes

Hayes was the first president to bring a Siamese cat to the White House. The family called her Siamese, and she was just one of the many animals that roamed the White House, including a goat, a mockingbird, cows and many dogs.

Theodore Roosevelt

The Roosevelt family had several pets during their time in the White House – with 23 different animals, most of all presidents. One pet was Slippers, a sixteen-year-old cat. He also had a cat named Tom Quartz, said to have been named after the character from Roughing It by Mark Twain.

Woodcock Wilson

There were two cats that lived in the White House during Wilson’s presidency, Mittens and Puffins. Although these two kittens were certainly not the most famous of Wilson’s pets, this would have to go to Old Ike – the president’s ram that would graze the White House lawn.

Calvin Coolidge

Coolidge had a lot of big and small cats during his time on Pennsylvania Ave. 1600. He had four domestic cats named Bounder, Tiger, Mud, Tiger and Blacky. He is also said to have had a lynx as well as two baby lions, which are said to have been given to him by dignitaries from South Africa – called Tax Reduction and Budget Bureau.

John F. Kennedy

Tom Kitten, the Kennedys’ cat, was first introduced to the media in 1961. The cat actually belonged to Kennedy’s daughter Caroline, and because of the President’s allergies to her, the cat spent most of her time with White House staffer Mary Gallagher, although Caroline could visit and play with her furry friend when she liked it.

Gerald Ford

Ford’s cat Shan actually belonged to his daughter Susan and was a Siamese cat following in the footsteps of President Hayes. The cat is said to have been an Easter present for Susan before Hayes was elected president.

Jimmy Carter

The Carters had another White House Siamese cat with their pet Misty Malarky Ying Yang. With such a creative name it is no surprise that a song was named after her. Gabor Szabo created an instrumental piece called “Malarky Ying Yang”. The cat belonged to Carter’s daughter Amy. It was to take over a decade before the next cat moved into the White House.

Ronald Reagan

Reagan and his wife Nancy had two cats, Cleo and Sara, who lived on their ranch in Santa Barbara, California. Although they apparently never moved to the big house on Pennsylvania Ave., they are still presidential cats.

Bill Clinton

Socks, the cat of the Clinton family, is one of the most famous presidential cats in history – he even has his own Wikipedia page. The Clintons adopted the cat in Arkansas before they moved to the White House. Although he was an audience favorite, there was someone who did not like socks – the Clintons’ dog, Buddy.

George W. Bush

The black cat of this Bush family, India, also received the nickname Willie and was adopted by George W. Bush when his daughters were young girls. She lived with the family for almost two decades and died only a few weeks before the Obamas moved in.


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