'Meet Willow!': Bidens welcome two-year-old short-haired Tabby cat to White House
President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden welcomed Willow, their new cat, to the White House on Friday, January 28. The first lady had tweeted the pictures of Willow inside the White House with the caption, "Meet Willow!" Michael LaRosa, the first lady's press secretary, told Reuters, "The Bidens are excited to welcome their new cat, Willow, to the White House!" Willow, named after the first lady's hometown of Willow Grove, Pennsylvania, is two years old and has grey and white stripes. The cat is a 'short-haired Tabby', according to LaRosa.
LaRosa added, "A farm cat from Pennsylvania, Willow made quite an impression on Dr Biden in 2020 when she jumped up on the stage and interrupted her remarks during a campaign stop. Seeing their immediate bond, the owner of the farm knew that Willow belonged with Dr Biden." Willow is settling in the White House with her favorite toys, food, and lots of rooms to smell and explore, according to LaRosa.
Willow's arrival at the White House comes less than a month after the president and first lady welcomed Commander, their German Shepherd puppy. The White House announced at the time that a cat will come in January. According to First Lady Jill Biden's office, the Bidens got Commander in December as a birthday present from the President's brother James Biden and sister-in-law Sara Biden.
The White House announced shortly after Commander's arrival that the Bidens' German shepherd, Major, will be re-homed with family friends. Major was relocated after the Bidens consulted with dog trainers, animal behaviorists, and veterinarians, who all agreed that the dog would benefit from a quieter setting. Since Biden assumed office, Major had been a major headache for the White House, having been involved in multiple biting events, including when Major attacked a Secret Service agent. In March, one White House visitor was bitten by Major, who was surprised by an unknown person and responded in a way that caused small harm to the individual, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told Washington Post.
Major's departure, however, was not due to a new or specific event, according to the White House, which stated the decision was reached after months of discussion. When questioned about a possible White House cat, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki joked that she would make the announcement before a bad news day. Psaki said earlier hinted of the possibilities of a cat at the White House. She said, "I’ve been joking, although maybe it might be true, that we’re waiting for a bad news day for that to come out. If you see a tail wagging coming out of the briefing room, you’ll know something bad is about to happen."