Biden Gets Puppy, Promises White House Cat Is Coming Soon

Biden Gets Puppy, Promises White House Cat Is Coming Soon

The Clintons’ cat, Socks, makes the White House extra festive in 1993.
Photo: National Archives

President Biden has a problem with expectation-setting. He has yet to fulfill lofty promises on the pandemic, voting rights, and Build Back Better. Most egregiously, his administration has toyed with America by promising a White House cat that has yet to materialize.

Monday appeared to finally bring an end to this Long National Nightmare, but as always with this White House and cats, nothing was straightforward.

It was a big day for presidential pet news. At 4:52 p.m., the White House announced that the Bidens had adopted a puppy named Commander.

Commander seems like a good dog, if you’re into that sort of thing. But cat lovers who read the news too much were apoplectic:

Hours later, the White House attempted to placate these frustrated feline enthusiasts. CNN’s Kate Bennett, who broke the puppy news, shared another pet scoop:

The weird thing is, all of this bad pet PR was entirely avoidable. “Will the Bidens get a cat?” wasn’t a question on anyone’s mind way back in late November 2020, when they first revealed that a cat adoption was in the works. The White House had been pet-free for years, as President Trump supposedly finds owning animals “low class,” and the Biden children weren’t publicly promised a new pet as a reward for enduring a grueling campaign (as far as we know).

Yet the Bidens kept stoking cat-lovers’ hopes even after their dog Major was involved in two “biting incidents” at the White House. In an April interview, Jill Biden assured Today Show viewers that the Secret Service had taken Major to a shelter with cats as part of his training, and “he did fine.” As for the cat, she was said to be “waiting in the wings.”

When asked if adopting a cat was his idea, President Biden responded, “No, but it’s easy.” However, it’s proven the opposite. The next First Feline update came in September, buried deep in a New York Times profile of Jill Biden:

They have discussed bringing on a cat, but Dr. Biden said Major’s past episodes biting Secret Service officials created a continuing “issue” that has contributed to the feline’s delayed arrival.

“The cat is still being fostered with somebody who loves the cat,” Dr. Biden said. “I don’t even know whether I can get the cat back at this point.”

Now, in a twist no one saw coming, Major has been booted out of the White House like Anthony Scaramucci. He’d already been spending most of his time at the Biden’s home in Delaware, but now he’s going to live with another family altogether.

“After consulting with dog trainers, animal behaviorists, and veterinarians, the First Family has decided to follow the experts’ collective recommendation that it would be safest for Major to live in a quieter environment with family friends,” Michael LaRosa, a spokesman for Jill Biden, told The Washington Post.

So, where does this leave those of us who got a little too excited about the second coming of Socks the Cat? Well, kind of in the same place we’ve been for more than a year. I’d like to trust the Bidens when they say this cat’s arrival is imminent, just as I want to believe that the administration is going to ship out free COVID-19 tests in a timely fashion and find a way to salvage the president’s agenda. But I’ve been burned before, so I won’t believe it until I see claw marks on the Oval Office curtains.