- 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
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
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
Take to Top!
- 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.)
Take to Top!
The Feline Page!