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Notable Tales







ALL THE PRESIDENTS' CATS



Presidents and their families have been owned by several "first cats" during the 20th century. Among these cat lovers of Capitol Hill are:

Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt (1901 to 1909) had a heart for all kinds of animals. He had a gray polydactyl cat named Slippers, and named another one Tom Quartz, after a cat in a Mark Twain story he enjoyed so much.



Calvin Coolidge (1923 to 1929) was quite a "zoo keeper" who kept more than just cats. His many White House pets included dogs, geese, raccoons, birds, and even a wild bobcat named Smokey he got as a gift from admirers. Some of Coolidge's cats were named Blackie, Blaze, and Bounder.



John F. Kennedy, President (1961 to 1963) had to find a new home for their cat because of severe allergies, but he did allow his young daughter Caroline to have a kitty for short time. After several photos of him, his daughter and the kitty happily playing in the Oval Office were published, everybody in the country suddenly wanted a kitten.



Gerald Ford (1974 to 1977) let his daughter Susan's Siamese cat named Shan have the run of the place during his term in office.



Jimmy Carter (1977 to 1981) also enjoyed the company of his daughter Amy's Siamese cat named Mister Malarky Ying after they moved into the White House.



Ronald Reagan (1981 to 1988) and his wife Nancy, although known more for their love of dogs and horses, also had big hearts for felines. If you were to ever visit their California ranch, you would be greeted by several of their free roaming cats.



Bill Clinton (1993 to present) and wife Hillary are both allergic to cats, but their daughter Chelsea has enjoyed the company of Socks, a black and white tuxedo cat. Socks and his canine housemate, Buddy, are the subjects of a book entitled "Dear Socks, Dear Buddy," a collection of letters written to the "first pets."

I hope all future presidents are cat lovers. It would be "politically correct," don't you think? He or she would get my vote!


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WHO'S THAT HISTORICAL AILUROPHOBE? Famous Cat Haters:


Much to our dismay, there are and have been people in the world who are total ailurophobes - those who hate or are terrified of cats. We find it hard to comprehend, but it is so. You may find this portion of the newsletter hard to read, but press on!

Here are a few historical figures who could form their own anti-cat club:

William Shakespeare - probably thought the only good cat was a dead one. (Okay, Willie, I'll not read another one of your plays!)

President Dwight Eisenhower - banished cats from the White House and ordered his staff to shoot them on sight if any came onto the grounds. (That's no way for a five star GENERAL to act is it? There goes my "I Like Ike button!")

Johannes Brahms, composer of some of the world's most beautiful music - refused to even go near a cat. Obviously a cat was not responsible for inspiring any of his music. (Well, Joe, I'm going to check my classical CD collection for your stuff right now!)

BUT the cat hater of all cat haters - the one whose picture you see next to the definition of ailurophobe in the dictionary - is none other than:

Napoleon Bonaparte - He had an extreme and irrational fear of felines. He would be transformed from a courageous world conquering warrior emperor into a trembling, sweating, wimp if he even thought there was a cat anywhere near him. He could conquer the world, but not his fear of an innocent pussycat! (I thought it was Waterloo that did him in, but maybe there was a cat on the battlefield!)

BUT - we shouldn't be too harsh on those who are truly afraid of cats, and I'm just kidding with my remarks in parentheses. Experts on the subject say the cause probably comes from a childhood incident when a cat either attacked or frightened the person for whatever reason.

But there is hope for current sufferers. The condition is treatable. The best method for a cure is to gradually relearn how to associate with cats and to realize there is nothing to fear from our gentle lovable feline creatures.

(Are you ready to "adopt an ailurophobe?" Sounds like a good cause to me.)


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