American presidents who lived with a cat

Susan Ford, daughter of Gerald Ford, and the family’s siamese cat, Shan, in 1974. Photo: Wikipedia under CC license. Image: A1206-12A, Courtesy: Gerald R. Ford Library

Although dogs are by far the most popular companion animal for American presidents, some of them did live with a cat and they are listed below:

  1. Abraham Lincoln. He was the cat guardian of two domestic cats namely Tabby and Dixie. He once said that Dixie was smarter than his whole cabinet. Tabby must have been a tabby cat.
  2. Rutherford B Hayes. He had a cat whose name was Piccolomini (the name of an Italian general). He also lived with Siam, a Siamese cat described as the first Siamese cat in the United States and Miss Pussy another Siamese cat. Click for the first Siamese cat in the West.
  3. Theodore Roosevelt lived with Tom Quartz and slippers among many other companion animals. Tom Quartz was named after a cat in a story by Mark Twain.
  4. Woodrow Wilson lived with Puffins. He also had a flock of sheep at one time. They kept the White House lawn cut nicely and economically. The wool was sold to benefit the Red Cross.
  5. Calvin Coolidge apparently had a cat called Smoky who was a bobcat. As you know, a bobcat as a wild cat species. I don’t know how he kept this cat. They don’t make great pets, let’s put it that way. He also lived with two domestic cats at one time, namely Blacky and Tiger (Tige).
  6. John F. Kennedy, at one time, lived with a cat called Tom Kitten. Kennedy loved animals by the look of the list on Wikipedia.
  7. Gerald Ford lived with a cat called Shan, a Siamese cat. A photograph of the cat with his daughter Susan illustrates this page. It was taken in 1974.
  8. Jimmy Carter‘s daughter, Amy Carter, had a pet Siamese cat called Misty Malarky Ying Yang.
  9. Ronald Reagan, among other companion animals all of which were dogs, owned two cats who lived at his Rancho del Cielo. They were Cleo and Sara. There were tortoiseshell cats.
  10. Bill Clinton‘s family owned Socks, a black-and-white cat (tuxedo). Perhaps one of the more better-known presidential cat companions.
  11. George W Bush owned India “Willie”. Willie lived 18-years-of-age (photo below).

India “Willie” – cat (July 13, 1990 – January 4, 2009). Photo: Wikipedia – Paul Morse under CC license.


Comment: the first president to own a cat was Abraham Lincoln. Up until then it was all dogs and other animals. The two US presidents who lived with for owned the most companion animals were Calvin Coolidge and Theodore Roosevelt. The third biggest animal lover of all US presidents after Coolidge and Roosevelt was John F. Kennedy.

I have relied on the Wikipedia page on United States presidential pets to compile this list of presidents who owned a cat companion. Strictly speaking you could remove Jimmy Carter because the list includes a cat owned by his daughter Amy Carter. Let’s just say the Siamese cat was a family cat which probably applies to all of these cats in any event.

If you can amend the list please do so in a comment. It would be welcome.

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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