CATalyst Council’s “Spokescat,” CAT Stanley, Salutes the Felines who have Inhabited 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. I liked this article so much that I requested to re-post it. The original version is posted on the Catalyst Council’s website.
(THE COMFY SOFA, My House, Annapolis, Maryland) February 20, 2012—The only thing that surprises me about the cats that have inhabited the White House over the years is how few presidents have had them! President Lincoln was the first to have a cat live with him while in office and he was our 16th president. After him, only 11 other presidents have had cats choose them.
I suppose all the hustle and bustle around 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. may be too much for some cats, but personally I would love all of the attention and different people, not to mention the fame. In celebration of President’s Day, I have put together a brief history of the cats that have graced the White House with their presence.
As I previously mentioned, Abraham Lincoln was the first president to have a cat (“Tabby”) live with him at the White House. It is important to note that Lincoln was an avid cat lover; he frequently de-stressed by playing with kittens. When asked if her husband had any hobbies, Mary Todd Lincoln was reported to have offered the following one-word reply: “Cats.”
The first Siamese cat (“Siam”) to be brought into the country was chaperoned by President Rutherford Hayes, our 19th president, and was a gift. The first cat to receive an obituary notice from the press was President John F. Kennedy’s beloved Tom Kitten. Other presidents that have had cats reside with them at the White House are Theodore Roosevelt (“Tom Quartz” and “Slippers”), Calvin Coolidge (“Tiger”), Gerald Ford (“Shan”), Jimmy Carter (“Misty Malarky Ying Yang”), Ronald Reagan (“Cleo” and “Sara”), Bill Clinton (“Socks”) and George W. Bush (“India”).
With cats being America’s number one companion (owned cats do outnumber owned dogs in this country), I believe that all presidents should take a page from President Lincoln and adopt at least one cat. I can imagine that being one of the most powerful people in the world has stressful, blood pressure-raising moments. Cats are known for their power to soothe jangled nerves and lower blood pressure, and would thus be an asset to any president’s inner circle of advisors.