Tags: Presidential History | abraham lincoln | pets | president

First Pets: Four-Legged or Feathered Friends of President Abraham Lincoln

By    |   Monday, 11 May 2015 04:41 PM

When Abraham Lincoln was elected president, he left his favorite pet, a mixed-breed dog named Fido in Springfield, Ill., with his barber, William Florville. Lincoln would later receive two unexpected gifts: cats Tabby and Dixie.

Before parting ways with Fido, Lincoln took him to a photography studio so he would always have a picture to remember him by. The photo was the earliest known image of the president's dog.

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According to the Presidential Pet Museum, Lincoln's Secretary of State, William Seward, was the one who gave him cats Tabby and Dixie. The cats won him over with their quiet adoration.

Lincoln once exclaimed, "Dixie is smarter than my whole cabinet! And furthermore she doesn't talk back!"

Caleb Carman, one of Lincoln's friends, told of how the president would talk to his cats for a half hour at a time and would pamper Tabby and Dixie, feeding them from the table during a formal dinner at the White House in front of guests, reports the  Conservation Cub Club.

Lincoln's wife, Mary, expressed concern about what Lincoln had done and he replied, "If the gold fork was good enough for former President Buchanan, I think it is good enough for Tabby," according to the Conservation Cub Club.

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Lincoln was known to have a special affinity for stray cats and was known to bring them home on occasion, with Mary Lincoln even referring to cats as her husband's "hobby," reports the Presidential Pet Museum.

Lincoln became distracted by the sound of mewing kittens at Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's headquarters in City Point, Va., during the siege of Petersburg in 1865.

Admiral David Porter later wrote of  how he was struck by the sight of the president "tenderly caressing three stray kittens. It well illustrated the kindness of the man's disposition, and showed the childlike simplicity which was mingled with the grandeur of his nature," reports the Conservation Cub Club.

Before leaving the officers' tent that day, Lincoln turned to a colonel and said, "I hope you will see that these poor little motherless waifs are given plenty of milk and treated kindly."

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When Abraham Lincoln was elected president, he left his dog, Fido in Springfield, Ill., but later received an unexpected gift of two other pets, cats Tabby and Dixie.
abraham lincoln, pets, president
Monday, 11 May 2015 04:41 PM
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