Friday, February 20, 2009

RIP Sock Clinton, A Very Good Cat Indeed.

From the AP Newswire, Breaking....

Socks, the Clintons' White House cat, dies
February 20, 2009 9:01 PM EST
BALTIMORE - Socks, the White House cat during the Clinton administration who waged war on Buddy the pup, has died. He was around 18.

Socks had lived with Bill Clinton's secretary, Betty Currie, in Hollywood, Md., since the Clintons left the White House in early 2001.

Currie confirmed Socks' death Friday evening and said she was "heartbroken." She did not give details, referring calls to the Clinton Foundation office.

The foundation released a statement from the Clintons:

"Socks brought much happiness to Chelsea and us over the years, and enjoyment to kids and cat lovers everywhere. We're grateful for those memories, and we especially want to thank our good friend, Betty Currie, for taking such loving care of Socks for so many years."

Socks had reached his late teens - an advanced age for a cat - when reports surfaced in late 2008 that he had cancer and Currie had ruled out invasive efforts to prolong his life.

"It's not a happy prognosis," presidential historian Barry Landau, a friend of Currie's, said at the time.

Socks was what feline-lovers call a tuxedo cat - mostly black with white down the front and belly and on his feet, suggesting a fashionable dandy in a black satin evening jacket with a snowy shirt peeping out. He had markings that looked a bit like a mustache and goatee.

Chelsea Clinton's pet first appeared in the news in November 1992 after then-Gov. Bill Clinton won the presidency and the family was the still in the governor's mansion in Little Rock, Ark. Socks became an early symbol of privacy-vs.-media in the Clinton era when photographers got a little aggressive as he took a stroll outside.

Life changed for Socks in the White House, when his easy access to the out-of-doors was necessarily curtailed. One official conceded that, yes, Socks was on a leash while outside.

Things took a turn for the worse in late 1997, when then-puppy Buddy, a chocolate retriever, arrived. Relations between Socks and Buddy were cool from the beginning.

"I'm trying to work that out," Clinton joked at the time. "It's going to take a while. It's kind of like peace in Ireland or the Middle East."

A few weeks later, in early 1998, the two pets had an encounter on the South Lawn. "A very agitated Buddy approached the cat and began barking as the president restrained him with a green leash," The Associated Press reported. "Socks, hair raised high, stood his ground until Clinton and Buddy made their exit to the Oval Office."

But their pairing enchanted pet lovers, especially children. In 1998, then-first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton put out a book of children's letters to the two pets in "Dear Socks, Dear Buddy."

"Can you please send me a picture and a paw print," one youngster wrote Socks. "Do you have fleas? I think my cat has fleas."

In the book, the first lady wrote she had been taking daughter Chelsea to a piano lesson in spring 1991 when they spotted two kittens in the music teacher's front yard. "The black one with white paws - Socks - jumped right into (Chelsea's) arms," she wrote.

After the Clintons left in early 2001, Socks moved in with Currie. Buddy, meanwhile, made the move with the Clintons to Chappaqua, N.Y., but he was struck and killed by a car the following year.

Socks continued to live quietly with Currie, sometimes making appearances at programs held by pet welfare groups. Landau said Socks enjoyed sitting in the sun and that Currie doted on him, cooking him special chicken dinners.

Coincidentally, the White House cat in the Bush era, India, died Jan. 4 at 18, just weeks before Bush left office. Bush daughter Barbara, then 9, named the shorthaired black cat after former Texas Rangers player Ruben Sierra, nicknamed El Indio.

Like Socks, India had to share the White House with the canine side: the Bushes' Scottish terriers, Barney and Miss Beazley, who were immortalized in Internet videos.


Associated Press writer Polly Anderson in New York contributed to this report.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Anthony said...

Socks was the same age as Kitty of mine. He's sleeping comfortably on the sofa, cherishing each new day, I suppose.

Gianna said...

my kitty is also 19...I intend to see her well into her 20's.

I've heard tale of some cat's hitting 30...this according to a woman who does cat rescue...she's literally owned 100's of I suppose she may know what she is talking about, but I am still rather skeptical.

Pyrs said...

Socks looks extremely cute in that picture. Looks like he was ready to take on all the world's problems. I think this picture was taken as he was saying: "Concerning global warming... I suppose cats need to do their part too. So we are implementing "green" measures in regards to the manufacture of all of our catnip mouseys..."

susan said...

@Anthony, Or maybe Kitty is dreaming happily that he doesn't have to give a press conference!

@Gianna, your kitty can certainly live well into her 20's. I saw a show once on the Animal Planet about a cat who was 38 when she passed.

susan said...

@Pyrs, the world would be a much better place if dogs and cats ruled it.

Stephany said...


Handsome B. Wonderful said...

Awwww what a cute kitty. I remember him in the White House and this picture of him on the podium is great.

Mark Krusen said...

Socks had a good run.126 years, isn't each cat year the equivalent to 7 human years? We should be so lucky.

Merelyme said...

awww poor socks. I love tuxedo cats. I have always had a combination of white and black cats...never have had a grey or tabby cat.

Just stopping on by to see how you are doing. Sorry to be so neglectful lately. I am having to advocate for my son to keep his services is taking all my energy. I am struggling to keep afloat.

Immi said...

My kitties see Socks as a hero. Anycat who can survive the White House is something else. But mostly black cats are almost as cool as tabbies. hehe RIP Socks.

Marissa Miller said...

I can't believe Socks had been around for the majority of my life. RIP, Socks.

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