The White House has a new family member, and it’s no human. After months of hoping, there’s now an official White House cat, and the story of how the feline met President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden is one that’ll warm your heart. Here’s what to know about the Bidens’ new cat Willow Biden, and how the floof secured its spot with the presidential fam.
On Friday, Jan. 28, Jill Biden posted a thread of photos of Willow on Twitter alongside the caption, “Meet Willow!” The gray tabby, who is shown lounging (and prowling) around the White House has large white whiskers and jade-green eyes and was named for Jill Biden’s hometown, Willow Grove, Pennsylvania. For those who followed the feline saga, this isn’t Willow’s first time meeting the Bidens: Jill has championed bringing a cat home to the White House for a while. Apparently, Willow is the one after the kitty caught her eye back in 2020, when she was on the campaign trail with President Joe Biden.
“Willow made quite an impression on Dr. Biden in 2020 when she jumped up on the stage and interrupted her remarks during a campaign stop,” Michael LaRosa, the first lady’s spokesman, revealed to The New York Times. “Seeing their immediate bond, the owner of the farm knew that Willow belonged with Dr. Biden.” It’s true, guys. You don’t pick your cat, your cat picks you.
After the first lady mentioned that she was eyeing bringing a cat to the White House in an interview with Fox 5 in Washington, D.C., in November 2020, animal-lovers have been rallying for one to set foot — er, paw — into the historic building. “I’d love to get a cat,” Biden said at the time. “I love having animals around the house.”
Then, in an interview with NBC’s “Today Show” in April 2021, the first lady joked that there was a particular cat “waiting in the wings.”
Finally, after over a year of waiting for Willow, the tabby cat is finally a member of the White House family, joining the addition of Commander, a German shepherd puppy, who the Bidens introduced in December 2021. Their previous dog, Major, was rehomed in December to a less stressful environment than the White House, following several biting incidents.
Before Willow’s journey to the White House, she was living with a foster parent, according to a September 2021 interview with Jill Biden from The New York Times. “The cat is still being fostered with somebody who loves the cat,” she told the publication at the time. “I don’t even know whether I can get the cat back at this point.”
The last cat to reside in the White House was President George W. Bush and his wife Laura’s cat, India, while another sweet feline beloved by the public was President Bill Clinton’s cat, Socks.
Now that the Bidens have a feline family member in the White House, here’s to hoping there’s plenty purr-fectly adorable content to look forward to as Willow gets settled in. Maybe little brother Commander can show her the ropes!