While there might be quite a few big stories dominating the news headlines at the moment, one little story in particular caught our eye recently: two weeks ago it was announced that Joe Biden has welcomed a cat to the White House.
Her name is Willow, and she’s a grey and white farm cat who apparently crossed paths with Jill Biden back in 2020. After a small delay, she’s finally found her way to the White House and was introduced to the world last week. Willow, the new First Cat of America, got us thinking about other high profile felines—or VICs (that’s very important cats).
The UK’s Chief Mousers
Perhaps you’ve seen Larry the cat slinking out of the door of 10 Downing Street every time the press are waiting to photograph some important-looking humans. With his official title of Chief Mouser of the Cabinet Office, Larry joined Downing Street back in 2011, and has been there ever since. In fact, he celebrates the anniversary of his arrival on February 15th, so this week will mark 11 years since Larry was rescued from Battersea Dogs & Cats Home and found his way to be the most politically influential cat in the UK! According to his official government profile, Larry “spends his days greeting guests to the house, inspecting security defences and testing antique furniture for napping quality.”
But he’s not the only cat roaming around British government offices: the Treasury also has its own Chief Mouser, called Gladstone, and the Foreign Office had its own Chief Mouser too: a cat called Palmerston, who retired back in 2020, and is now living an easy life in the countryside
Willow isn’t the first White House cat, either. In recent history there have been a couple of First Cats: before Willow’s arrival, the last cat in the White House was George W. Bush and his family’s pet cat, called India. Before India, Bill Clinton’s daughter had a cat called Socks, who moved with the family to the White House. Socks is perhaps the most famous of all the White House cats, and was a favourite of the photographers regularly stationed outside. There’s a very famous photo of Socks being photographed by the press on the lawn of the White House, and the Socks proved so popular that the Clintons eventually had to ask the photographers to give her some space!
If we go much further back in time, Abraham Lincoln had two pet cats at the White House. Their names were Tabby and Dixie, and he was presented with them as a gift when they were kittens. The Presidential Pet Museum claims that he once fed Tabby from the table during an official state dinner, described Dixie as being “smarter than my whole cabinet!”, and that he also had a habit of bringing home stray cats—so we can safely say that Lincoln was a cat person.
More International VICs
There are other First Cats worldwide, too. The President of Taiwan, Tsai Ing-wen, is a cat lover and has two rescue cats, Think Think and Ah Tsai, and she’s campaigned to raise the profile of pet adoption in Taiwan.
So while many world leaders might have opted for canine companies, we’re happy to see that there are still plenty of cats running things around the world as well.
14/02/2022 by NatuTeam