India (cat)

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India "Willie" Bush
India, looks at a plant, 2005.
BreedAmerican Shorthair
BornJuly 13, 1990
DiedJanuary 4, 2009(2009-01-04) (aged 18)
White House
OwnerGeorge W. Bush and Laura Bush
AppearanceShort haired black fur
India the Cat "being very patient" in a wizard Halloween costume, 2007
Barbara and Jenna Bush with India, 2008
India in 2006.

India "Willie" Bush (July 13, 1990 – January 4, 2009) was the pet cat of U.S. President George W. Bush and his family while he was in the White House. She lived with the Bush family for almost two decades.

Biography[change | change source]

The Bushes got India, an all black, female American Shorthair,[1] as a kitten in late 1991 or 1992. Their twin daughters Barbara and Jenna Bush were nine years old. It is not known if the cat had registered to vote. India stayed with George and Laura Bush after Jenna and Barbara left for college.[2] When George W. Bush became President in early 2001, India moved with the family from the Governor's Mansion in Austin, Texas to the White House.[2]

Even while living at the White House, India did not get as much attention from the media as the family's Scottish terriers, Barney and Miss Beazley. She is shown in the "Barneycam" videos made by the White House staff at Christmas. She first starred in Where in the White House is Miss Beazley?, where she was called by her nickname, "Willie".[1] The dogs were always more interesting to the White House press during the Bush presidency. They became more famous to the public.[2]

India (as "Willie") was shown in the March 2008 Architectural Digest, in the East Sitting Hall of the White House.[3]

India on the chair back in the West Garden Room.

Controversy[change | change source]

There was controversy reported in the news in India. Some people were upset with the cat's name. In July 2004, demonstrations were held in the southern Keralian city of Thiruvananthapuram. The cat's name was criticised as an insult to the nation of India. An effigy of President Bush was burned in protest.[2][4]

The Bushes did not change the cat's name because of the demonstrations.[2] India had been named for a baseball player, Rubén Sierra. He was nicknamed "El Indio" while playing for the Texas Rangers, when Bush owned the baseball team.[5] The name had been given to the family cat by Barbara, one of the Bush's daughters.[2]

Laura Bush holds onto India, there family cat, 2004.

Death[change | change source]

India died at the White House on January 4, 2009, at age 18.[6] In a statement to the press about India's death, Sally McDonough, speaking for First Lady Laura Bush, said that the family was "deeply saddened" by their cat's death.[1] Part of the statement said, "India was a beloved member of the Bush family for almost two decades. She will be greatly missed."[1]

India the cat at the Christmas Barneycam video, 2007.

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "'First Feline' India dead at 18". United Press International. 2009-01-05. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Dunham, Rick (2009-01-06). "Dogs overshadow death of Bush family's cat". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  3. "At Home with History in the White House", Architectural Digest, March 2008: Retrieved 14 July 2015
  4. Bush’s cat India provokes anger. (2004, July, 03). Deccan Herald. Archive Retrieved 14 July 2015
  5. "India's Official Biography". 2009-01-05. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  6. Knoller, Mark (2009-01-05). "Death Of A White House Underdog: The Cat". CBS News. Archived from the original on 2009-01-23. Retrieved 14 July 2015.

Other websites[change | change source]

Media related to India (cat) at Wikimedia Commons