White House Cats: Presidential Life From Feline Purrspective

white house cats
Socks Clinton Photo Source: Flickr, US National Archives

Although feelings are very mixed regarding the new President, the vote is unanimous….we love White House cats!

Much has been said about dogs that took up residency at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue – a few cool cats have ruled the White House, too.

Following are stories of former White House cats. This is not an all-inclusive list, but it is interesting nonetheless.

The First White House Cat

According to lizcat.com. the first White House cat belonged to Abe Lincoln.  His name was Tabby and he not only lived there, but legend has it he participated in various White House dinners where he was fed with a gold fork!

Lincoln loved cats and apparently on one occasion find three half-frozen kittens in a shed. He tucked them into his jacket and proceeded to take them home. He graciously cared for them until they were adopted. Lincoln’s wife used to tell others that Abe’s favorite hobby was cats!

One of his other cats named Dixie was so favored by Lincoln that he frequently bragged she was more intelligent than his entire cabinet!

Siam, First Siamese Cat In The U.S.

Rutherford B. Hayes was the owner of Siam, the first Siamese cat to come to the US, a gift from the American Consul in Bangkok.  Siam was allowed to roam the White House and it has been reported that she loved to make a grand entrance whenever guests arrived!

White House Cats From 1930’s-1990’s

Woodrow Wilson had two cats – Mittens and Puffins, both liked jumping on to the dining room table, and were turned away by being squirted with water.

John F. Kennedy’s children had Tom Kitten, who was besotted with JFK. The President was allergic to cats, so Tom had to move to another home.

Gerald Ford’s daughter Susan had a seal point Siamese cat named Shan Shein, who slept in Susan’s bed at night.

Amy Carter, daughter of Jimmy Carter, enjoyed playing with her Siamese cat with an unusually long and unique name – Misty Malarky Ying Yan. Her favorite spot in the White House was in Amy’s indoor doll house.


Socks was a black and white tuxedo cat that joined the Clinton family when Bill was governor of Arkansas. Clinton referred to Socks as the Chief Executive Cat. It was no secret that Socks engaged in many public feuds with Buddy, the family’s Labrador Retriever. Apparently, Socks didn’t accept Buddy when he became a part of the family.

India Willie Bush

George W. Bush owned a cat named India Willie Bush, a black cat named after Ruben El Indio Sierra, famed baseball player of the Texas Rangers.

There is no information yet about whether any pets will live in the White House for the next four years. A new White House cat on the scene would definitely be among a revered list of felines!



Written by Ann Butenas

Ann Butenas

An internationally-recognized author and writer, Ann began her professional writing career at age 12 and began speaking while in college. She has been published thousands of times over the past three decades in all media forms, was former editor and publisher of KC Metro Woman magazine, and has also hosted three talk radio shows in the Kansas City area.

2 Responses to "White House Cats: Presidential Life From Feline Purrspective"

  1. This is wonderful! Socks is the only White House cat I’ve heard of, I’m so glad there were many more. So much attention is given to White House dogs but the cats deserve their share of the attention too! Thanks for sharing.
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

    1. Thanks! I agree, cats deserve recognition, too! Socks had a lot of personality, he was a good representative for WHite House cats past and future!

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