10 Cats Who Made History


7
Socks, the White House Cat
Photographers surround poor Socks, then-President-Elect Bill Clinton's cat outside the governor's mansion in Arkansas, 1992. The cat was such a  favorite with the press, the Clintons had to ask them to leave him alone. MIKE NELSON/AFP/Getty Images
Photographers surround poor Socks, then-President-Elect Bill Clinton's cat outside the governor's mansion in Arkansas, 1992. The cat was such a favorite with the press, the Clintons had to ask them to leave him alone. MIKE NELSON/AFP/Getty Images

When a black-and-white cat jumped into Chelsea Clinton's arms as she was leaving her piano lesson in 1991, it was the smartest move a stray could make. The Clintons adopted the cat, whom they named Socks, and a year later brought him with them to the White House when Chelsea's dad, William J. Clinton, became president.

Socks quickly scouted out several favorite snoozing spots in his new home, including the Oval Office, a wing chair in the West Wing and the office of Betty Currie, the president's secretary. But he wasn't a lazy feline. Hillary Clinton brought Socks with her when she visited kids and senior citizens, and he typically charmed them all.

The public became so besotted with Socks over the years that he was mentioned in the TV comedy "Murphy Brown," appeared on "Larry King Live" – in Muppet form – when Kermit the Frog was hosting, and was even depicted (along with President Clinton) in a series of stamps printed in the Central African Republic.

Socks' halcyon days ended in 1997, when the Clintons added Buddy, a chocolate Lab, to the family. The famous feline resented him so greatly that the Clintons gave Socks to Betty Currie when they left the White House in 2001. Socks lived to be 20 before dying in 2009 [source: Presidential Pet Museum].