The country will see a first cat in the White House for the first time in years after President-elect Joe Biden takes office.
CBS Sunday Morning reports that the Biden family confirmed they’ll be joined by a feline when they move into the executive mansion in January.
“President-elect Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, won’t just be bringing their German shepherds, Major and Champ, to the White House. The Bidens tell us exclusively that soon they’ll be joined by a cat,” host Jane Pauley said in a clip announcing the news this weekend.
And now some breaking news on #SundayMorning…
President-elect @JoeBiden and his wife @DrBiden won’t just be bringing their German shepherds, Major and Champ to the White House. The Bidens tell us exclusively that soon they’ll be joined by a cat. #sundaypets pic.twitter.com/KCkNV6jNpH
— CBS Sunday Morning 🌞 (@CBSSunday) November 28, 2020
The cat’s breed and name were not immediately available.
The Biden’s feline will be the first to be first cat in the White House since former President George W. Bush was in office nearly a dozen years ago.
Cats have a long history in the White House.
Abraham Lincoln’s secretary of state, William H. Seward, gave him two cats, Tabby and Dixie, said Andrew Hager, historian-in-residence at the Presidential Pet Museum.
Lincoln was a major “cat fan,” Hager said, and the president often fed Tabby from the dinner table despite his wife’s criticism.
“At one point, he told a friend that Dixie was ‘smarter than his entire cabinet’ and ‘didn’t talk back, which was a bonus,’” Hager said.
Other presidential cats include Tom Kitten, who belonged to Caroline Kennedy; Shan Shein, the Siamese cat of President Gerald Ford’s daughter, Susan; and Misty Malarky Ying Yang, who belonged to President Jimmy Carter’s daughter, Amy.
Probably one of the most popular cats in the White House was Socks in the Clinton White House.
The black and white cat was the protagonist of an unreleased Super Nintendo game, “Socks the Cat Rocks the Hill,” and often gained attention from the news media, as he was the only White House pet until the Clintons adopted a chocolate Lab named Buddy in 1997.
Jennifer Pickens, a White House historian and author of “Pets at the White House: 50 Years of Presidents and Their Pets,” said the emergence of the internet had added to Socks’s popularity as a cartoon version of the cat greeted visitors at the White House for Kids website.
The last cat to live in the White House, India (who also had the nickname Willie), belonged to President George W. Bush.
Her time at the White House was often overshadowed by the Bush family’s two Scottish terriers, Barney and Miss Beazley, Hager said.
Protesters in Kerala, India, burned an effigy of Bush in July 2004 in protest of the cat’s name, citing it as an insult to their country, Hager said.
In reality, the black shorthair cat was named after the former Texas Rangers baseball player, Ruben Sierra, who went by the nickname El Indio.
India died in January 2009, just before Bush left the White House.
The news of a cat comes weeks after the Biden family garnered widespread attention following reports that one of their pooches, Major, was also set to become the first shelter rescue dog in the White House once the president-elect takes over next year.
Donald Trump, never accused of being warm or empathetic, was the first president in 100 years to not have a dog.