Fifty Years of Presidential Pussycats

When a new President is elected he often brings a new set of pets to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Even before they become White House residents, some animals have been well-known. Take then-Vice President Nixon’s cocker spaniel, Checkers. And, even when we don’t care for the current occupant of the Oval Office, the fact that they know and love an animal or two can soften out hearts toward them. Here is a gathering of fifty-plus years of Presidential Pussycats:

* India the Cat: President GW Bush’s current kitty. Sometimes called ‘Willy’. India was on of two cats until recently. There was another kitty, Ernie– an orange tabby with six toes on each foot who was deemed too rowdy to live in the White House and now lives with a family in California.

* Socks the Cat: Lived with President Clinton and actually answered fan mail.

Neither Ronald Reagan nor George Bush the first has cats in the White House. Sorta makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

* Miss Malarky Yin-Yang: President Jimmy Carter’s daughter Amy’s pet kitty.

* Chan: A lovely seal-point Siamese that lived with President Gerald R Ford.

Neither Nixon nor Johnson had cats in the White House. Figures.

* Tom Kitten: The only cat in a huge menagerie kept by the Kennedy clan.

Then there’s a gap between Hoover and Eisenhower, where no cats lived at the White House– the mice were having a day of it for awhile there.

* Calvin Coolidge didn’t have any house cats but he did keep a pair of lion cubs on the ground of the White House for a couple of years. It may seem odd that there were years with no kitties in the White House– after all, a cat makes a home.

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