Sunday, December 14, 2008

Clinton's Socks the Cat Near Death

From one of those corporate magazine blogs, at US News and World Report, courtesy of the Huffington Post news wire:

We have some bad news today on the presidential pet front. Socks the cat, probably the most photographed presidential kitty in history, has cancer and isn't expected to live. "His days are numbered," says Barry Landau, a friend of Socks' master, Betty Currie. Landau, a presidential historian and author of The President's Table, tells our Suzi Parker that the Currie family could have put Socks on feeding tubes, but decided against it. "They fear he is too old," adds Landau, who is writing a book on presidential inaugurations. And a second source told us that Socks is gravely ill.

Recall that Currie, who lives in Southern Maryland and was Bill Clinton's personal secretary, took Socks after the Democrats left office. At the time, Hillary Clinton had been elected to the Senate and Bubba was moving to New York to run his foundation.

More here.

Ordinarily I would bitch about people not being committed to their pets for the long haul, but it was cool having a cat in the White House, and with Chelsea headed off to Standford for university study, along with the above mentioned changes in her parents' respective lives, I suppose giving Socks to Ms. Currie was for the best. At least the former First Feline has had a good life since his Washington days.

You know, the lives and deaths of celebrity pets don't usually affect me one way or the other, but there's something about political pets onto which I latch emotionally from time to time. As with the death of the Bush family dog, this story about Socks' final days makes me think about losing my cats Alec and Giskard. I know Presidential pets are fodder for propaganda, like with Nixon's famous "Checkers Speech," but knowing that powerful political figures love little furry animals somehow humanizes them a bit.

That's one thing we should never forget. They're all bastards, our leaders, but they're all human beings just like you and me. That's worth some hope.

Good vibes to the Curries and Clintons. Losing a cat, even after a long life, is tough.

Credit: Barbara Kinney/The White House