During a house call last week, I asked my friend and assistant Holly to go grab the puss. Open mouth, insert foot. That’s one phrase I probably should stop using. Holly did in fact, grab the FOUR LEGGED puss, and we poked him with needles, took his precious blood and clipped his too long nails. The cat’s owners, Holly and I all laughed at the double entrendre, and I started musing about more harmless, less controversial presidential pusses.
We all know that Barack brought a Portugese Water Dog to the White House, and that the senior Bushes had Millie, the Scottie, but what about feline residents? I remembered Socks, Chelsea Clinton’s cat. He was a tuxedo, a predominately black cat with a white face and 4 white feet who came to live at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave in 1993. The cat was pretty popular. He had his own fan club and newsletter. Socks attended press conferences and accompanied the first family on trips back to Arkansas. His obituary was listed in the Washington Post at his death in 2009. Lots of other presidents had cats too.
Lots of other presidents had cats too. According to The Purring Post, Presidents Ford, Reagan and Carter all had cats. Carolyn Kennedy had Tom Kitten, though her father was allergic to him and kept his distance. Woodrow Wilson had 2 cats, whom he frequently squirted with a water pistol to keep them off the table at dinnertime. William McKinley had Angora cats, while Rutherford Hayes was gifted with the first Siamese cat in the United States in 1878. “Siam” endured a 2 month journey in a crate, but later roamed the White House freely. Calvin Coolidge loved cats and had a houseful. He owned both domestic short hairs and exotic large breed cats-a bobcat and 2 lion cubs. When one of his cats went missing, Coolidge pleaded for his return during his radio address. “Tiger” was returned and his collar embellished with his auspicious address. Abraham Lincoln was an ardent cat lover, and fed his feline with a gold fork.
While unsuccessful, let’s not forget Morris the Cat’s (of 9 Lives fame) bids for the presidency in 1988 and again in 1992. I’d like to see another cat in the White House.