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  • "First Cats" in the White House

    Animal Forum's
    Top 10
    "First Cats" in the White House

    Many cats have called the White House home. Cats have roamed the halls of the west wing under many US Presidents. We have selected the best known cats to showcase.

    10. Tiger Cubs, Martin Van Buren

    Martin Van Buren (president from 1837 to 1841) received two tiger cubs as gifts from the Sultan of Oman.

    9. Miss Pussy, Rutherford B. Hayes

    Rutherford B. Hayes (president from 1877 to 1881) owned this Siamese cat. Hayes also had several dogs and another feline named Piccolomini.

    8. Puffins, Woodrow Wilson

    Woodrow Wilson (president from 1913 to 1921) also owned birds, dogs, a ram and, most famously, sheep, which he kept on the White House lawn.

    7. Tiger, Calvin Coolidge

    Tiger was a stray domesticated cat adopted by Calvin Coolidge (president from 1923 to 1929) and his family. They also had two tiger cubs, two lion cubs and a bobcat named Smoky.

    6. Shan, Gerald Ford

    Gerald Ford (president from 1974 to 1977) was more known for his family’s two dogs, but Ford’s daughter Susan had Shan, a Siamese cat.

    5. India, George W. Bush

    George W. Bush, who assumed office in 2001, named the family cat after Texas baseball player Ruben Sierra, whose nickname is El Indo.

    4. Enrique DeLome, William McKinley

    William McKinley (president from 1897 to 1901) owned this Angora kitten named afterthe Spanish ambassador to the U.S. The human DeLome wrote an infamous document, now called "The DeLome Letter," which insulted McKinley and helped to fuel the Spanish American War. McKinley had another Angora kitten, "Valeriano Weyler." The human Weyler was a Spanish soldier involved in international politics. He was made a governor of Cuba.

    3. Slippers, Theodore Roosevelt

    Theodore Roosevelt (president from 1901 to 1909) had this cat as well as another, named Tom Quartz. Roosevelt's family filled the White House with everything from a garter snake to a rooster.

    2. Tom Kitten, John F. Kennedy

    Although John F. Kennedy's time in the White House (president from 1961 to 1963) was short, he and his family brought in numerous pets. Tom Kitten was the lone cat among ponies, dogs, birds and a rabbit named Zsa Zsa.

    1. Socks, William Jefferson Clinton

    Bill Clinton (president from 1993 to 2001) owned what was arguably the most publicized cat in politics. Socks inspired at least one book, Socks Goes to Washington: The Diary of America's First Cat (Thomasson-Grant, 1993) and was frequently mentioned on television news programs as well as on the sitcom Murphy Brown and The Larry King Show. The Clintons gave Socks to secretary Betty Currie and as of mid-2006, Socks was still doing well under her care.

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