June 27, 2011

American History: Pets

In honor of the upcoming holiday weekend, we thought it would be interesting to explore the history of pets in America. Turns out pets (of all kinds!) have been in The White House as long the presidents have.

White House PALs, by the numbers:

Total Pets: +247

  •  Dogs: 117
  • Horses: 26
  • Parrots: 3
  • Cats: 15
  • Guinea Pigs: 4
  • Crocodiles: 2

President with the most pets? President Calvin Coolidge, with 26 pets.

The Presidents have been very creative when coming up with names. Topping the list?

  • George Washington named his donkey Royal Gift.
  • Calvin Coolidge named his two lion cubs Tax Reeduction and Budget Bureau
  • Ulyssess S. Grant named one of his horses Cincinnatus, because the pet was a gift from the citizens of Cincinnatti, Ohio
  • Misty Malarky Ying Yang was Jimmy Carter’s daughter’s Siamese cat
  • Benjamin Harrison had two opossums: Mr. Reciprocity and Mr. Protection
  • William McKinly named his yellow-headed Mexican parrot Washington Post

Rutherford B. Hayes brought the first cat to the White House, the First Siamese Cat of the United States, Siam. (Siamese cats have been the most popular among presidents ever since!)

There are some pretty cool stories about the presidents’ pets. If you want to learn more about the history of pets in the United States, check out Pets in America: A History.

Have a fun and safe Fourth of July with your favorite PAL this weekend!


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