Cats have really scratched their way to the top in America, and now it’s totally normal to even see a cat or two working in the White House itself! But what our nation’s First Cats have and haven’t accomplished once they Made It to the highest domicile of Western power only serves to reveal the entrenched obstacles remaining for catus politicus—aka Politikitty.
It shouldn’t be any surprise that the president who broke the cat barrier at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue was that Union-loving, controversy-generating character known as Abraham Lincoln. Ole Honest Abe just couldn’t wait to let his little pal Tabby loose to shred Van Buren’s loveseat and the like.
The next presidents to keep a feline on staff included Rutherford Hayes and Theodore Roosevelt, no pussies themselves in either domestic policy or foreign relations. But the next truly notable cat to impact national politics was Calvin Coolidge’s favorite cat, Tiger, who was nearly never absent from his official place in the cabinet – looped about the president’s neck—where he tirelessly consulted on all presidential matters large and small.
Cats slept out the 30th through 34th presidencies, with J. F. Kennedy’s beloved Tom Kitten breaking back in to the world’s top power address in 1960, heralding a new era of progress for outsiders everywhere. But just two years later Tom Kitten broke hearts when he was cut down in the prime of life. Still, in his death he made history, being the first First Cat honored with an obituary by the press.
Since then, nearly every president has had at least one cat on staff at the White House (with the exceptions of Johnson, Nixon and the first Bush, who apparently were more heavily influenced by the canine contingent). Yet, the truth is that we have yet to see a truly empowered First Cat who can capture this nation’s imagination and toy with it for the sake of some real results.
Today, political battles are being decided about cats and housing, freedom of movement, better nutrition and living conditions, population control, “kitty death row,” the feral cat community, and so much more. There are so many areas where a few charismatic, articulate cats could make a real difference. That is why you must buy my book Self Help for Cats as soon as it becomes available.
Happy Presidents’ Cats’ Day, everyone! You can Learn more about presidential cats at http://www.purr-n-fur.org.uk/famous/socks.html