*Disclaimer – Jean Luc is not a political cat, and this is not a political column. It is a column both congratulating and welcoming Champ and Major Biden on their new home. I mean, you have to admit, for Major going from a shelter to living in the White House is a dream come true. I bet there’s nothing that those two can’t get away with!
Champ and Major have big paws to fill as they follow in the pawprints of many First Cats to who honored to have their litterboxes installed at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Here is a brief history:
President Abraham Lincoln (1861-1865)
Lincoln’s cats – Tabby and Dixie were the first cats to reside in the White House and possibly the first cats to throw up on the rugs in the Oval Office. It has been said that Lincoln made it a habit to play with kitties as a form of stress release -a favorite de-stressing technique of cat lovers, even today!
President Rutherford B. Hayes (1877-1881)
President Hayes owned the very first Siamese cat to arrive in the United States, who was, wait for it, named Siam! The Hayes’ also had a kitty named Piccolomini, which I assume they called Pickles for short, because Piccolomini is quite the mouthful. You know why the curtains have been replaced in the Mural Room since 1881? Pickles!
President Theodore Roosevelt (1901-1909)
Teddy Roosevelt owned 2 cats – a six-toed cat named Slippers and another cat named Tom Quartz. Like her namesake (actual house slippers), Slippers could be found all over the White House, and would snooze in the hallway outside the banquet hall, where visiting dignitaries had to step around her to enter. Sounds familiar, no?
President Calvin Coolidge (1923-1929)
The Coolidge’s owned a bunch of cats! Tiger, Blacky, Bounder, Timmie and even a bobcat named Smoky. Blacky regularly enjoyed cream in a saucer and liked to hang out in the White House elevator, because really, who wouldn’t?
President Gerald Ford (1974-1977)
Gerald Ford’s daughter Susan brought along Shan Shein, a lovely Siamese cat, to the White House. Although the kitty didn’t really love Liberty, the family’s golden retriever, she loved to hang out in the Lincoln bedroom, usually under the bed. One thinks she probably saw a lot of interesting things in that room…
President Jimmy Carter (1977-1981)
Misty Malarky Ying Yang—a sweet Siamese with another long name, resided in the Carter White House and was said to help daughter Amy practice her violin, probably while sleeping in the violin case.
President Bill Clinton (1993-2001)
Socks, one of the most well-known and beloved first kitties was so famous that he had a book and song written about him. And a website. But no plush doll.
President George W. Bush (2001-2009)
George W. Bush brought his family cat, India “Willie” Bush to the White House, although the family dog, Barnie, seemed to get all the limelight.
I am truly happy for Champ and Major and not even a little bit jealous because while they get to live in the White House and probably have a Secret Service Agent specifically designated to them who gives them cookies all day, I have a plush doll fashioned in my likeness! They even have their own Instagram account with over 32K followers, which is frankly more than Jean Luc has! I mean, it’s not a contest or anything, but if you haven’t already followed us on Instagram, please do – and tell you friends too!