From 20 January 1993 to 20 January 2001, Socks – a rescued American Shorthair – was the most powerful cat in the United States.
The only animal in the Clinton White House (excusing Bill), Socks actually joined the household before they became the First Family – jumping into eldest daughter Chelsea’s arms in 1991 as she left a piano lesson and returning to her home in the Governor’s mansion.
He may have lived in the lap of luxury, but Socks never forgot his roots – often sharing his food and water with a stray tabby called Slipper.
Truly, he was the people’s pet and these are just 10 of the best photographs from the US National Archives, accompanied by choice nuggets of correspondence from Dear Socks, Dear Buddy: Kids’ Letters to the First Pets.
1. Socks Perched on the Backseat of a Van (16 September 1993)
Meow! Meow! You are pretty. My name is Kayla. Are you a boy or girl? Is it fun to be the President’s cat?
2. Socks Standing Next to the Gingerbread Replica of the White House (5 December 1993)
Some of my hobbies are hockey, basketball, and kickball, and some other things too. What are your hobbies?
3. Socks Perched on Clinton’s Shoulder (20 December 1993)
What do you do all day? Can I have your autograph please and Bill’s? I will put a piece of paper in for your autograph. OKay? I need a picture of Bill and you.
4. Socks next to a Christmas Stocking Embroidered with the Name Socks (21 December 1993)
Can you please send me a picture and a paw print? Do you any fleas? I think my cats has fleas.
5. Socks Standing on the Press Podium in the Press Room at the White House (5 December 1993)
Is their secret service men and secret service cats to watch you? You are the coolist cat ever to walk the erth. Pls right back and pls come to my house. I Have Fish At My House.
6. Socks Sitting Behind the President’s Desk in the Oval Office (7 January 1994)
Have you ever broken a window?
7. Socks the Cat Posing Next to Easter Eggs Decorated with Paw Prints (1 April 1994)
Are there any good mice in the White House?
8. Chelsea Clinton Playing with Socks the Cat in the Oval Office While President William Jefferson Clinton Works at his Desk (24 December 1994)
What is it like to live in the White House? Do you miss Chelsea? Does she like Stanford. Do you make Presiesident Clinton sneeze. Where do you sleep.?
9. First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton and Socks the Cat (13 December 1995)
I have six family members in my house. They are my mom, my dad, my sister, my dad, my cat and me. I hope you have just as good a family as I do.
10. Buddy the Dog and Socks the Cat in the Outer Oval Office (5 January 1998)
Maybe you need to teach that dog some cat manners.
Sadly Socks fell out of favour with the introduction of Buddy, the Clinton’s boisterous Labrador retriever. In true House of Cards style, these political heavy hitters formed an intense rivalry.
“I did better with the Arabs – the Palestinians and the Israelis – than I have done with Socks and Buddy,” admitted President in 2001.