First, it was announced that Champ and Major, the German Shepherds belonging to President-elect and future First Lady Jill Biden, would be surveying the White House. And now, after an absence of more than a decade, a cat is also expected to join the ranks of Presidential Pets, Jane Pauley of “CBS Sunday morningReported on Twitter Friday.
In one interview with Fox 5 in Washington, DCDr Biden hinted that if her husband won the presidency, she wouldn’t mind having a cat.
“I would love to have a cat,” she says. “I love having animals in the house.”
The cat’s breed and name were not immediately available. Representatives for Mr Biden did not respond to a request for comment on Saturday.
The Bidens will reestablish the tradition of presidential pets when they move into the White House in January, with President Trump choosing not to have pets during his tenure. But the Bidens’ cat will not be the first in the White House.
Abraham Lincoln’s Secretary of State William H. Seward gave him two cats, Tabby and Dixie, said Andrew Hager, historian in residence at the Presidential Pet Museum. Lincoln was a huge “fan of cats,” Mr. Hager said, and the president often fed Tabby from the dinner table despite criticism from his wife.
“At one point he told a friend that Dixie was ‘smarter than his entire cabinet’ and ‘didn’t respond, which was a bonus,’” Mr. Hager said.
Other presidential cats include Tom Kitten, which belonged to Caroline Kennedy; Shan Shein, the Siamese cat of President Gerald Ford’s daughter, Susan; and Misty Malarky Ying Yang, who belonged to President Jimmy Carter’s daughter, Amy.
One of the most popular cats in the White House was probably Socks in the Clinton White House.
The black and white cat was the protagonist of an unreleased Super Nintendo game, “Socks the Cat Rocks the Hill”, and often attracted media attention, as he was the only White House pet until what the Clintons adopted from a chocolate lab named Buddy in 1997.
Jennifer Pickens, White House historian and author of “Animals in the White House,” said the emergence of the Internet had added to the popularity of Socks as the comic book version of the cat welcomed to website visitors. of the White House for children.
The last cat to live in the White House in India (who also went by the nickname Willie) belonged to President George W. Bush. His time in the White House has often been overshadowed by the two Scottish Terriers in the Bush family, Barney and Miss Beazley, Mr Hager said.
Protesters in Kerala, India burned an effigy of Mr Bush in July 2004 to protest the cat’s name, citing it as an insult to their country, Mr Hager said. (According to White House records, the short-haired black cat was named after former Texas Rangers baseball player Ruben Sierra, nicknamed El Indio.)
India passed away in January 2009, just before President Bush left the White House.
Interest in presidential pets has grown over the years, as the public has turned to more White House life stories, Ms. Pickens said.
Pets can help humanize presidents and soften their image, and with the most recent addition of the Bidens, they could also represent the hopes of a president for the nation under new leadership.
“Maybe it symbolizes Biden’s oft-repeated desire to unify the country,” he said. “I know it’s a bit trite, but I’m very curious to see how it goes.”