Willow, the Biden family cat, is the first White House cat since the George W. Bush administration.

Erin Scott/White House/AP

Updated 11:53 AM ET, Fri January 28, 2022

Willow, the Biden family cat, is the first White House cat since the George W. Bush administration.

Erin Scott/White House/AP

The Bidens have welcomed a new family cat to the White House.

Willow, a 2-year-old gray tabby, is named after the first lady’s hometown of Willow Grove, Pennsylvania. She joins Commander, a German shepherd puppy that has been at the White House since December.

Ever since George Washington took office with horses and hounds in tow, presidents have welcomed animals into their lives.

Thomas Jefferson kept a mockingbird and a couple of bear cubs during his presidency. Theodore Roosevelt, famous for his love of the great outdoors, had parrots, ponies, bears, snakes, lizards, a zebra and a one-legged chicken. Calvin Coolidge counted a raccoon among his many animals. Woodrow Wilson had sheep that helped keep the grass trimmed during World War I.

But most modern-day presidents have stuck to more traditional pets: cats and dogs. And throughout the years, these pets have become celebrities of sorts.

President Theodore Roosevelt’s eldest son, Teddy Jr., holds a macaw named Eli circa 1902. The Roosevelts had all kind of animals, including lizards, snakes and a one-legged chicken.

Library of Congress

Pauline, one of William Howard Taft’s pet cows, stands on the lawn of the State, War and Navy Building in Washington. Pauline also was known to graze on the White House lawn.

Library of Congress

Who needs groundskeepers? Woodrow Wilson’s sheep graze on the South Lawn of the White House.

National Photo Company/White House Historical Association

Warren G. Harding and his dog Laddie Boy are photographed in front of the White House in 1922. Laddie Boy was an Airedale terrier.

Library of Congress

First lady Grace Coolidge holds her pet raccoon, Rebecca. Rebecca was sent to the Coolidges as a gift to cook on Thanksgiving — yes, you read that right — but the first family decided to adopt the animal instead.

Library of Congress

President Franklin D. Roosevelt is joined by Fala, his Scottish terrier, before going to his inauguration in 1941. Roosevelt had to break the news to Fala that he would not be attending the ceremonies.

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Harry Truman’s daughter, Margaret, holds their Irish setter, Mike, outside the White House in 1945.

Marie Hansen/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

John F. Kennedy Jr. mischievously leans out of his baby carriage and reaches for the family’s Welsh terrier, Charlie. Charlie was one of the Kennedy family’s many dogs.

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John F. Kennedy and his children John and Caroline play with their pony Macaroni in 1962.

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Lyndon B. Johnson sings with his dog Yuki while his grandson Patrick looks on in 1968. Johnson’s daughter rescued Yuki, a mixed-breed dog who was abandoned at a gas station in Texas.

The White House

Richard Nixon shows off Pasha, his Yorkshire terrier, to two young visitors in 1969. Nixon also had two other dogs while in office.


Gerald Ford pets his golden retriever, Liberty, while studying budget matters in the Oval Office.

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Jimmy Carter’s daughter, Amy, holds her cat, Misty, as she returns to the White House in 1977.


Ronald Reagan and first lady Nancy Reagan are joined by their dog Rex after visiting Camp David. Rex was a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

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George H.W. Bush walks on the South Lawn of the White House with his springer spaniel Millie and her puppies in 1989.

Courtesy Everett Collection

The Clinton family cat, Socks, peers over a podium in the White House briefing room in 1994.

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George W. Bush is joined by his Scottish terriers Barney and Miss Beazley as he walks on the South Lawn of the White House in 2006.

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Barack Obama runs down a corridor with Bo, a Portuguese water dog, after the first family adopted him in 2009. The Obamas later adopted another one named Sunny. The breed was chosen because of Malia Obama’s allergies. The coats of Portuguese water dogs are hypoallergenic.

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Champ was one of the Biden family’s German shepherds. He died in June 2021 at the age of 13.

Adam Schultz/White House

Commander is the Biden family’s German shepherd puppy. He was given to the President as a birthday gift.


The Bidens’ cat, Willow, looks out a window at the White House.

Erin Scott/White House/AP