I haven’t got many nice things to say about our departing president, but I’ll give him this: He took care of his old cat. (Then again, it might have been Laura.)
I just came across the news that the Bush family cat died recently at age 18. According to the White House press release:
The President, Mrs. Bush, Barbara, and Jenna are deeply saddened by the passing of their cat India (“Willie”). The 18 year-old female black American Shorthair died Sunday, January 4, 2009 at home at the White House.
When Barbara was nine years old, she named India after the former Texas Ranger baseball player, Ruben Sierra, who was called “El Indio.” When Barbara and Jenna moved away to college, India, affectionately called “Kitty” by the family, stayed at the White House with the President and Mrs. Bush.
India was a beloved member of the Bush family for almost two decades. She will be greatly missed.
The Houston Chronicle notes that the cat “remained in the shadows of a dog-dominated White House” and had little presence in the public mind. But at least the family cared enough to bring her with them from Texas to Washington. The Clintons, on the other hand, gave away the far more famous Socks to White House secretary Betty Currie when Bill’s presidency ended. (Yes, the same Betty Currie who expedited Monica Lewinsky’s visits.) Poor Socks, also 18 years old, is reportedly near death himself, suffering from cancer.