Presidents That Had Cats In The White House

President Joe Biden may already have Champ and Major, the two German shepherds, in the White House, but he's pledged to have a cat in the residence as well, The New York Times reported in November. Dogs may get the most attention among presidential pets, but cats have also placed prominently in the hearts of those who occupy the White House. Abraham Lincoln was the first known president to bring cats into the White House. The two Lincoln cats, Tabby and Dixie, were so much the focus of Lincoln's attention that he would prefer to spend hours with them over his administration. "Dixie is smarter than my whole cabinet! And furthermore, she doesn't talk back!," Lincoln said, according to the AP.

The Presidential Pet Museum tells us that President Rutherford B. Hayes had Siam, the first Siamese cat in the White House, a gift from David B. Sickels, the U.S. consul stationed in Bangkok. Calvin Coolidge had several cats of a wide variety of sizes, including four house cats, a bobcat, and two lion cubs named Tax Reduction and Budget Bureau, according to the Coolidge Foundation.

Like the rest of us, presidents took the naming of their cats seriously. Theodore Roosevelt had Tom Quartz and Slippers, the latter's name because it was polydactyl — more or fewer than the usual number of toes, says The Spruce Pets. President Jimmy Carter's daughter, Amy, had Misty Malarkey Ying-Yang. George W. Bush's cat was named India, but he preferred to call her "Willie."

Socks was the most famous presidential cat in history

Bill Clinton arrived at the White House with Socks, who became the most well-known first cat. Socks was frequently photographed at the White House and even greeted visitors to a new version of the White House website in the '90s. He became so famous that he had a book and song written about him, as well as a slew of other merchandise, according to the Presidential Pet Museum. However, Socks didn't get along with the Clintons' dog, Buddy, and eventually went to live with Betty Currie, the president's secretary.

Tom Kitten was a close second to Socks, in terms of notoriety. He was Caroline Kennedy's cat, who lived in the White House during JFK's presidency. Because of the president's allergies, however, the cat spent most of the time living with a White House staffer. Tom Kitten has the distinction for being the first White House cat to get an obituary. It read in part, "Unlike many humans in the same position, he never wrote his memoirs of his days in the White House, and never discussed them for quotation, though he was privy to many official secrets," according to the Presidential Pet Museum.

Chester Arthur, Franklin Pierce, and Millard Fillmore were the only presidents who never owned pets of any kind during their White House years, until Donald Trump.