Jill Biden lets cat out of the bag: White House dogs to have new feline friend

  • New pet will be adopted from a rescue shelter
  • Biden’s dog Major has had training to to cope with cats

As if enough fur didn’t fly in Washington politics, the Bidens are bringing a cat to the White House, the first lady announced on Friday.

The forthcoming feline will join the family canines, old dog Champ and his friskier younger friend Major, at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in the near future.

In an interview on NBC on Friday morning, Jill Biden, sitting next to her husband, Joe Biden, was asked about speculation that a cat was being added to the White House menagerie.

“Oh, yes, that is true,” Jill Biden said. “He …,” she corrected herself: “She is waiting in the wings.”

Anchor Craig Melvin turned to Joe Biden and said: “Was this your idea, Mr President?”

The president chuckled: “No. But it’s easy.”

The Bidens were asked how they thought things would go with Major, the first ever White House dog to come from a rescue shelter, who has been exiled to the family home in Delaware lately for training after having trouble adjusting to the busy White House and being involved in some biting incidents.

Jill Biden said that adapting to being around cats has been part of that training for Major. And it looks like the new cat will also be a rescue.

“That was part of his training. They took him into a shelter with cats,” she said.

Joe Biden interjected that, in fact, it was members of the Secret Service who had taken Major in for that training.

“And he did fine,” Jill Biden said, laughing.

The name of the cat is as yet unknown.

The Clintons memorably kept Chelsea Clinton’s black and white cat Socks at the governor’s mansion in Arkansas, where Bill Clinton was governor, and then at the White House after he became president.

Hillary and Bill Clinton show off Socks the cat.
Hillary and Bill Clinton show off Socks the cat. Photograph: Ruth Fremson/AP

Socks freaked out when Buddy, the Clintons’ new puppy arrived.

Amy Carter had a Siamese cat called Misty Malarky Ying Yang and although George W and Laura Bush were famous for their scottie dogs Barney and Miss Beazley, they also had a jet-black cat called India who was a far more elusive presence at the White House.

In a comprehensive investigation by the Washington Post, the newspaper noted that although the first US president, George Washington, had a dog, the first White House cat is believed to have appeared when Abraham Lincoln was president.


Joanna Walters

The GuardianTramp

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