The Surprising Number Of Pets Abraham Lincoln Had

In addition to the many virtues associated with Abraham Lincoln — among them, his leadership during the Civil War and the emancipation of slaves in the United States — he and his family were among the many White House residents who have been extremely welcoming to animals. He had many official pets before and during his presidency, though many of them technically belonged to his children. One of their first was a dog named Fido that had been with them since 1851. 

In 1861, concerned with how Fido might handle the long journey from Illinois to D.C., the Lincolns decided it best for the neighboring Roll family watch over the dog until Lincoln's presidency was over and they could return. Fido lived in the care of the Roll family until 1865, when he came home with fatal stab wounds, presumably inflicted by a local drunk (via America Comes Alive).

Among the animals known to have been kept in the White House by the Lincolns were another dog, two goats, two ponies, several horses, a turkey (who was unofficially the first to be pardoned after Tad Lincoln insisted that his father spare the bird, which was named Jack), at least one rabbit, and two cats (via Presidential Pet Museum).

While Lincoln loved many animals, he had a particular soft spot for cats

While he was not the primary caretaker of most of these animals, the president was far from disassociated from them. In terms of pets, Lincoln was an extremely avid cat lover. Though the White House only had two resident cats during his administration, Lincoln extended his affection for felines to any that he came across. Lincoln's love of the animals was something that his wife, Mary Todd, was well aware of; at one point she stated that cats were his "hobby" (via National Park Service).

On one occasion he even fed one of his cats from his own fork during a dinner at the White House, and supposedly defended the act when Mary pressed him on what guests might think. If the fork was good enough for presidents, he said, it was good enough for the cat.

Stray cats were also liable to be shown kindness by the president. During the war he came across three orphaned kittens in the tent of General Ulysses S. Grant's, and Lincoln spent some time petting and talking to them. Before he left he asked the officers inside that the three be properly cared for in light of their lack of a mother (via The Tiniest Tiger's Conservation Cub Club).