Cat call: Bidens welcome new pet named Willow to the White House
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden have finally added the long-promised cat to their family of pets.
Two-year-old Willow is a green-eyed, grey and white farm cat from Pennsylvania.
“Willow is settling into the White House with her favourite toys, treats and plenty of room to smell and explore,” said Michael LaRosa, the first lady’s spokesman.
Mrs Biden had said after her husband was elected in November 2020 that they would bring a kitty to the White House, but her arrival had been delayed. Last month, the White House said the cat would arrive in January.
The first lady named the pet after her home town of Willow Grove, Pennsylvania.
The short-haired tabby made quite an impression on Mrs Biden after jumping on stage and interrupting her remarks during a 2020 campaign stop in Pennsylvania, Mr LaRosa said.
“Seeing their immediate bond, the owner of the farm knew that Willow belonged with Dr Biden,” he said.
The White House has not had a feline resident since India, George W Bush’s cat.
Willow joins Commander, a German shepherd puppy Mr Biden introduced in December as a birthday gift from his brother James and his wife Sara.
The Bidens had two other German shepherds, Champ and Major, at the White House before Commander, but Major, a three-year-old rescue dog, started behaving aggressively after he arrived in January 2021, including a pair of biting incidents.
The White House said Major was still adjusting to his new home, and he was sent back to the Bidens’ Delaware home for training.
The Bidens, after consulting dog trainers, animal behaviourists and vets, decided to follow the experts’ collective recommendation and send Major to live in a quieter environment with family friends, Mr LaRosa said last month.
Champ died in June at the age of 13.