Lincoln and cats - that is a story all to itself!
I apologize for the wordy post on such topic but we do not have any pics of Lincoln and cats. Please see a quick summary of “Lincoln And Cats” in pics at the bottom of the post (dramatization, not historically accurate)!
While Abraham Lincoln was known to be fond of animals throughout his life, he never adopted a cat before he became President.
Stories are floating about of Lincoln saving baby birds who had fallen out of their nest, hogs stuck in the mud and the family dog that, after being killed by his father, became the reason Lincoln never once looked back after he took his leave from the newfound Lincoln homestead in Illinois.
Lincoln owned several horses - and was known to go on a desperate search when one of them had taken off – as well as a dog while living in Springfield.
While Fido, floppy-eared, rough-coated, yellowish dog of uncertain ancestry, trailed Lincoln pretty much everywhere and was known to wait outside the barber while his master got a haircut, the pet did not go to Washington after Lincoln had been elected President.
Lincoln’s fondness of cats isn’t really a pet obsession, though. Only three instances are recorded in which he showed either wit/humor or kindness and concern.
One is the story about one White House cat named “Tabby” which Lincoln fed with fine silverware, much to the disdain of his wife.
His response was that if the fork were good enough for his predecessor Buchanan, it would be good enough for Tabby as well – turning around the argument and gaining a laugh.
The most heart warming story comes from a visit to General Ulysses S. Grant at City Point in March of 1865 when the President was at a telegraph hut, waiting for news from the battlefield.
While being seated near the telegraph, the President noted three tiny kittens in a corner, appearing lost and wandering around all by themselves.
“Where is your mother”, Lincoln asked picking up one of the kittens. “The mother is dead”, a person standing nearby helpfully provided.
“Then she can’t grieve as many a poor mother is grieving for a son lost in battle.”, Abraham Lincoln answered, “Kitties, thank God you are cats, and can’t understand this terrible strife that is going on.”
Abraham Lincoln ordered Colonel Bowers of Grant’s staff: “Colonel, I hope you will see that these poor little motherless waifs are given plenty of milk and treated kindly.”
Bowers promised that he would tell the cook to do just that.
The episode was recorded by Colonel Horace Porter who later recorded “He would wipe their eyes tenderly with his handkerchief, stroke their smooth coats, and listen to them purring their gratitude to him.”
And then of course there were the kittens that William H. Seward gave to Lincoln shortly after the newly inaugurated President had moved into the Executive Mansion.
Thanks to Seward’s daughter Francis Adeline “Fanny” Seward we know that fact to be true.
She made a mention of it in her diary on September 1, 1861, and it read:
“Mr. Lincoln showed us the pretty cats, kittens
given him by Father Sunday. They were playing in one of the grand halls. Mr. L.
seems quite fond of them. Says they climb all over him.”