Socks was a black-and-white stray cat who reportedly jumped into the arms of Chelsea Clinton as she was leaving her piano teacher’s home in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1991.
Soon after the Clinton family adopted the personable cat with cute black spot beside his nose, he found his way into America’s heart.
Socks had his own website, and was invited to many famous TV shows. He also inspired a children’s book and a cartoon character. Paparazzi’s were crazy about Socks!
In fact, Socks when Clinton won the presidency in 1992 the family had to ask photographers to leave the poor cat alone.
Socks was the first cat to live in the White House since Misty (Amy Carter’s cat) during Jimmy’ Carter’s administration years ( 1977- 1981).
Although he had freely roamed the property of the governor’s mansion, Socks was mostly confined to the inside of the White House for safety’s sake. He was a frequent visitor to the Oval Office, however, where he enjoyed sitting on the president’s shoulders.
A wing chair in the West Wing, just outside the Oval Office, was another one of his favorite spots.
Hillary Clinton often took Socks along with her to visit children or senior citizens in local hospitals and to other events in Washington, D.C. He traveled in style in his own carrying case that was emblazoned with the presidential seal.
Beginning in 1996, an animated version of Socks greeted children to the new White House website.
RELATED: The cats in the White House
President Clinton said, “When I took office, only high energy physicists had ever heard of what is called the World Wide Web…. Now even my cat has its own page.”
In 1997, a chocolate Labrador retriever named Buddy joined the Clinton family at the White House.
Although the two animals shared the web page, Socks was not at all fond of sharing his home with the dog. According to Hillary Clinton, Socks “despised Buddy from first sight, instantly and forever.”
Socks had had all the family attention for some years and found the dog’s presence hard to deal with so when the Clintons left the White House in 2001, they decided to separate the two animals by giving Socks to Betty Currie, the president’s secretary, so he went live with his new family in Maryland.
Socks was likely born in early 1989, based on a veterinarian’s estimate that he would have turned 20 in early 2009.
By June 2008, Socks was still living with Currie and her husband in Hollywood, Maryland, about 60 miles from Washington, but had a thyroid condition, hair loss, weight loss, and kidney problems. In December 2008, Socks was reported to be suffering from cancer.
When Socks died in 2009 at the ripe old age of 20, the Clintons issued the following statement:
“Socks brought much happiness to Chelsea and us over the years, and enjoyment to kids and cat lovers everywhere. We’re grateful for those memories, and we especially want to thank our good friend, Betty Currie, for taking such loving care of Socks for so many years.”
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