Socks (cat)

From Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Socks photographed on the South Lawn of the White House
Other name(s)First Cat
BreedDomestic short-haired cat ("moggie" or mixed breed)
Born1989 (estimated)
Little Rock, Arkansas, U.S.
DiedFebruary 20, 2009 (aged 19)
Hollywood, Maryland, U.S.
OccupationFirst Cat
Years activeJanuary 20, 1993 – January 20, 2001
OwnerBill Clinton
Betty Currie
AppearanceBlack and White "Tuxedo"

Socks Clinton (1989 – February 20, 2009) was the pet cat of U.S. President Bill Clinton and his family while he was in the White House.

Socks was an adopted stray cat and the only pet of the Clintons during the first years of Clinton's presidency. A picture of Socks was always on the children's White House website.[1] After Clinton left office, Socks went to live with Clinton's secretary, Betty Currie and her husband. This was because Socks fought a lot with the Clinton family dog Buddy. Socks never got along with the dog.[2][3]

Biography[change | change source]

Socks became the pet cat of the Clintons in 1991 after he jumped into Chelsea Clinton's arms at her piano teacher's home in Little Rock, Arkansas. Socks was playing with his sibling, Midnight, who was later adopted by another family.[4]

When Bill Clinton became President, Socks moved with the family from the governor's mansion in Arkansas to the White House. Even though he was the official 'first pet', he shared his food and water with a stray tabby cat, named Slippers. Socks was often taken to schools and hospitals to visit. Children visiting the White House website would be shown around by a cartoon version of Socks.[1]

In December 2002, Socks was part of the Little Rock, Arkansas Christmas parade.

Buddy[change | change source]

Things changed for the worse for Socks in 1997. The Clintons got a pet dog named Buddy, a Labrador Retriever. Socks hated this dog. Hillary Clinton said Socks "despised Buddy from first sight, instantly and forever." Bill Clinton said, "I did better with ... the Palestinians and the Israelis than I've done with Socks and Buddy."[5] When the Clintons left the White House in 2001, they took Buddy to their new home, but left Socks with Betty Currie. Buddy died within a year, being hit by a car in 2002.[6]

Later life and death[change | change source]

In June 2008, Socks was still living with Currie and her husband in Hollywood, Maryland, about 60 miles from Washington. But Socks was losing weight and losing his fur.[7] In December 2008, Socks was again reported to be in failing health from cancer.[8] Socks was euthanized on February 20, 2009, in Hollywood, Maryland.[9] He had cancer in his jaw.[10]

Socks the cat at the podium in the White House Press Briefing Room.

Letters written to Socks[change | change source]

First Lady Hillary Clinton wrote a children's book called Dear Socks, Dear Buddy: Kids' Letters to the First Pets in 1998.[11] It included more than 50 letters written to the First Pets by children. It had more than 80 photos of Socks and Buddy.

A Republican Representative in the United States Congress, Dan Burton once argued against the use of White House employees, postage, and stationery being used to answer mail that was written to the cat.[12]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 "The White House for Kids". Archived from the original on 20 April 1999. Retrieved 17 June 2015.
  2. "As Peace Process Fails, First Cat Prepares for Exile". New York Times. 2001-01-10. Retrieved 19 May 2015.
  3. Herring, Hubert B. "Betty Currie". New York Times. Retrieved 19 May 2015.
  4. Cellania, Miss. "The Nine Lives of Socks Clinton". Mental Floss. Retrieved 19 May 2015.
  5. "President Clinton Touts Economy While President-elect Bush Warns of Slowdown". January 12, 2001. Retrieved 19 May 2015.
  6. "Former first dog Buddy killed by car". CNN. 2002-01-03. Archived from the original on 2011-07-05. Retrieved 2015-05-19.
  7. "Socks still rocks" Archived 2012-09-18 at, Southern Maryland Newspapers Online, June 6, 2008. Accessed; May 19 2015
  8. "Clinton's Socks the Cat Near Death", U.S. News, December 12, 2008. Retrieved May 19, 2015
  9. "Socks, former Clinton cat, put to sleep -". CNN. February 20, 2009. Retrieved May 19, 2015.
  10. "Socks, former First Cat, dies". 2009-02-20. Archived from the original on 2011-07-16. Retrieved 2015-05-19.
  11. Clinton, Hillary, Dear Socks, Dear Buddy: Kids' Letters to the First Pets, Simon & Schuster, 1998, ISBN 0-684-85778-2, ISBN 978-0-684-85778-7
  12. "Burton: A 'Pit Bull' in the Chair". 1997-03-19. Retrieved 2015-05-19.

Other websites[change | change source]

Media related to Socks (cat) at Wikimedia Commons