WASHINGTON – The cat has landed.
After keeping the nation tense even before the Biden White House announced Friday that a gray cat named Willow had joined the first family, more than a year after the plucky Pennsylvania farm cat caught the attention of the first lady, Jill Biden, standing on the doorstep in front of her husband.
“Willow made a big impression on Dr. Biden in 2020 when she jumped on stage and interrupted her remarks during a campaign break,” said Michael LaRosa, the spokesperson for the first lady. “When they saw their direct connection, the ranch owner knew Willow belonged to Dr. Biden.”
Willow is named after the first lady’s hometown, Willow Grove, Pa.
The cat’s arrival was anticipated long after Dr. Biden had casually mentioned in a November 2020 interview that she’d love to have a cat in the White House, and later lightly suggested the animal was “waiting in the wings.” For cat fans everywhere, this might as well have been a blood oath that a cat would soon be revealed.
For more than a year, White House press secretary Jen Psaki was peppered with questions about the government’s cat policy by journalists and other interested parties. She seemed aware of the stakes behind the cat’s public rollout.
“I also wonder about the cat,” she said during a question-and-answer session with Twitter users last January, “because the cat is going to dominate the internet.”
On Wednesday, Willow, a jade-eyed short-haired tabby, formally moved to the White House, just over a month after the Bidens revealed they’d added Commander, a German Shepherd puppy, to the mix. dr. Biden said in an interview with DailyExpertNews this fall that the cat had lived with a foster parent who had become attached to it.
“The cat is still being cared for by someone who loves the cat,” said Dr. Biden. “I don’t even know at this point if I can get the cat back.”
Another complication, said Dr. Biden at the time was concerned about the animosity between the cat and Major, the family’s other German Shepherd, who had been sent to training after a series of biting episodes in the East Wing. At the time, Mr. LaRosa described it as “additional training to help him adjust to White House life.” But last month, Major was sent to a quieter area with family friends, Mr. laRosa.
A series of photos released by the White House shows Willow adjusting to her new environment, stretched out on a carriage and overlooking the Washington Monument.
“Willow is settling into the White House with her favorite toys, treats, and plenty of room to smell and explore,” said Mr. laRosa.
The last cat to live in the White House was India, a black cat that belonged to President George W. Bush and his wife Laura. Then there was Socks, the black and white feline of the Clinton White House. A bit of a media darling, Socks was the protagonist of an unreleased Super Nintendo game, “Socks the Cat Rocks the Hill”, and was even photographed in the White House briefing room.
Presidential cats, in any case, go back to the Lincoln era, when Abraham Lincoln’s Secretary of State, William H. Seward, gave him two cats, Tabby and Dixie. According to historians, Lincoln once remarked that Dixie was smarter than his entire cabinet.