Cats in the White House: “Lincoln said that his cat Dixie was ‘smarter than his entire cabinet’ and ‘didn’t talk back, which was a bonus.’”

From a New York Times story by Allyson Waller headlined “A Cat Is Said to Be Joining the Bidens in the White House”:

When he was running for president, Joseph R. Biden Jr. said it was time for a pet to be put back in the White House.

First it was announced that Champ and Major, the German shepherds belonging to the president-elect and future first lady Jill Biden, would roam the White House. And now, after an absence of more than a decade, a cat is set to also join the ranks of presidential pets. . . .

In an interview with Fox 5 in Washington, D.C., Dr. Biden hinted that if her husband won the presidency, she would not mind getting a cat.

“I’d love to get a cat,” she said. “I love having animals around the house.”

The cat’s breed and name were not immediately available. . . .

The Bidens will be restoring a tradition of presidential pets when they move into the White House in January, as President Trump opted not to have a pet during his term. But the Bidens’ cat won’t be the first 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,” Mr. 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,’” Mr. 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. . . .

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