With the current round of primaries, and President’s Day on the calendar, it gives one pause--or perhaps paws--wondering what all the kitties think of the cat-fight? Some years ago during another presidential campaign, I had the fun to appear in a tongue-in-cheek debate on the Today Show and elsewhere, arguing which pet was the more appropriate White House pet. I argued the cat side--and won! (Was there ever any doubt?) Throughout history, cats have shared the Oval Office with presidents and their families. When President Lincoln found three nearly frozen kittens while visiting General Grant during the Civil War, Lincoln adopted them on the spot. Theodore Roosevelt’s cats, Tom Quartz and Slippers, often attended White House dinners and state occasions. President Calvin Coolidge had three cats named Tiger, Blackie, and Timmie--and a canary. Timmie was a restrained and genteel diplomat and allowed Caruso the canary to hitch rides on his back. Calvin Coolidge kept lots of pets including cats named Bounder, Tiger, and Blacky, JFK’s menagerie included Tom-Kitten the cat, President Ford had a Siamese cat named Chan. More recently Socks made being a cat cool when he lived in the White House--and then was given to President Clinton’s secretary when they left office. Although both Bush presidents have kept cats--neither brought them to the White House. Cats, of course, are bored by the whole discussion. Felines are masters at kitty poker. They stare silently across a room to stake their claim and make a point, until the target slinks away with nary a tail twitch. Politics might learn something from watching cats. I often want to ask political candidates, “Do you have a cat, or a dog--or neither?” The answer, I believe, could be quite telling. To see more presidential pets read Petside's Top 5 First Pets List!
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