did abraham lincoln like cats

President Abraham Lincoln (1861-1865)

Lincoln was quite the cat person, even rescuing three motherless kittens while visiting General Grant during the Civil War. He regularly played with kitties to relieve stress during his presidency—a favorite de-stressing technique of cat lovers, even today.

Presidents Day: Celebrating Lincoln and His cats

Presidents Day is observed in the United States on the third Monday of February to honor all former presidents, though most people probably think of Presidents Washington and Lincoln. Presidents Lincoln and Washington were born in February, on the 12th and the 22nd, respectively.

As we honor all of the Presidents, one former head of state is particularly noteworthy for his love of all animals, but especially for his cats. In fact, Mary Todd Lincoln said, “Cats,” in response to a question about her husband’s pastime. ”.

President Lincoln and His Cats

William Seward, the Secretary of State at the time, surprised Lincoln with a gift of two kittens. The President pampered his cats, Tabby and Dixie. He allegedly fed Tabby from the table once at a formal White House dinner. Later, it is reported that the president said, “If the gold fork was good enough for former President Buchanan, I think it is good enough for Tabby,” in response to Mary, the president’s wife, expressing her worry and embarrassment to her husband about feeding Tabby from the table in front of their guests. ”.

Lincoln’s friend Caleb Carman described how the president would spend thirty minutes at a time conversing with his cats. Lincoln said, “Dixie is smarter than my whole cabinet! And furthermore she doesn’t talk back!” during his administration.

Next week we celebrate President’s Day, which is technically an observation of George Washington’s birthday (on February 22nd). But, there was another well-known president of the United States who had a birthday this month – Abraham Lincoln. This year, it’s Honest Abe which draws our focus, not for his many presidential accomplishments, but for his love of cats!

Tabby and Dixie were not the only cats in Lincoln’s favor. He was known to bring home strays from time to time, resulting in his wife, Mary, to comment “cats” were Abe’s hobby. During the last advances of the Civil War while visiting General Grant, President Lincoln came across three motherless kittens. He took the three of them in his lap and remarked, “Kitties, thank God you are cats, and can’t understand this terrible strife that is going on.” Colonel Horace Porter watched Lincoln during this encounter and recalled,

It’s difficult to believe Tabby and Dixie didn’t have everything they wanted while living in the White House, given how frequently the President is distracted by his devoted cats. Lincoln was seen chatting, petting, and spending a lot of time with his two companionable cats. During formal dinners, Tabby was known to be fed from the table. Lincoln was also reported to have exclaimed, “Dixie is smarter than my whole cabinet! And furthermore, she doesn’t talk back!” after growing frustrated with his own Cabinet.

Our 16th president was the first of any of our presidents to bring felines into the White House during his tenure – a trend that has continued to the modern era, most recently with President Bush’s cat, Willie, and President Biden’s feline, Willow. President Lincoln was gifted his two kitties, Tabby and Dixie, from his Secretary of State William Seward when it was decided that Lincoln’s dog Fido would have to stay home in Illinois after Abe’s election. The two cats immediately won over the President’s affection.


Did Abraham Lincoln have a pet cat?

Lincoln left his dog Fido at home in Springfield, Illinois, after winning the presidency, which paved the way for Secretary of State William Seward to give Lincoln two cats named Tabby and Dixie.

What are the names of Lincoln’s cats?

Lincoln was given an unexpected gift of two kittens from William Seward, then Secretary of State. The President pampered his cats, Tabby and Dixie.

Are there any famous cats in history?

Tabby and Dixie, Abraham Lincoln’s cats Tabby and Dixie were the first famous cats to grace the White House residence. It is said that the 16th president fed his beloved Tabby with a gold fork at White House dinners, and claimed his other cat Dixie was smarter than his whole cabinet.

How did cats come to America?

Geoffrey Chaucer mentioned a cat door in The Canterbury Tales in the 1380s. From Europe, cats boarded ships to the Americas, reportedly tagging along with Christopher Columbus, with the settlers at Jamestown, and aboard the Mayflower.