The Bidens welcomed the newest member of their family to the White House on Friday. Willow, who is currently two years old, has been adjusting to life in Washington D.C. exceptionally. “Willow is settling into the White House with her favorite toys, treats, and plenty of room to smell and explore,” said the First Lady’s Press Secretary Michael LaRosa. She is named after Biden’s hometown of Willow Grove, Pennsylvania.
Willow was first discovered by the Bidens at a farm in Pennsylvania. First Lady Jill Biden was the first to fall in love with the feline. Willow, a green-eyed, gray and white striped tabby interrupted the First Lady’s speech at one of then-candidate Biden’s 2020 campaign rallies. Right away, the First Lady felt a unique connection to the cat and wanted her to join their family.
“Seeing their immediate bond, the owner of the farm [also] knew that Willow belonged with Dr. Biden,” said LaRosa.
The cat was scheduled to move in shortly after the 2020 presidential election, but her arrival was delayed until January. Part of the reason for the delay was due to concerns of a cat in the same home as Major, the Bidens’ German shepherd who was sent to aggression training after several biting incidents. Since then, Major was relocated to live with friends of the family. Another factor is that before moving in, the foster parent taking care of Willow grew attached.
“The cat is still being fostered with somebody who loves the cat,” Biden said to the New York Times in September. “I don’t even know whether I can get the cat back at this point.”
Other pets currently residing in the White House include Biden's new German shepherd puppy. Willow moving in marks the first time a cat has lived in the White House in over a decade. Despite this, Willow is not the first feline to take residence in the White House.
Cats living in the White House date back to Abraham Lincoln’s presidency. Lincoln had two cats: Tabby and Dixie. Most recently, President George W. Bush had a black cat named India, and the Clintons had a black and white cat named Socks. Willow adds to the list of presidential cats.