- The highly-anticipated White House cat is finally here.
- The Bidens announced the arrival of Willow, a 2-year-old gray tabby from Western Pennsylvania.
- Jill Biden first met Willow on the campaign trail. She now joins the family's German shepherd puppy, Commander.
- For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.
The long-awaited White House cat has arrived.
Jill Biden announced on Friday morning that the Bidens have brought home Willow, a two-year old gray tabby from Western Pennsylvania who had a chance encounter with the first lady on the campaign trail.
"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," the first lady's spokesman Michael LaRosa told The New York Times' Katie Rogers. "Seeing their immediate bond, the owner of the farm knew that Willow belonged with Dr Biden."
"Willow is settling into the White House with her favourite toys, treats and plenty of room to smell and explore," LaRosa said.
Willow joins Commander, a German shepherd puppy the Bidens brought to the White House in December, after one of their longtime German shepherd companions Champ died in June at the age of 13.
The Bidens promised the American public a White House cat, but Willow's arrival was delayed by over a year.
The Bidens came to the White House in January 2021 with their two German Shepherds, Champ and Major.
Major, the younger of the two dogs, struggled at first with adjusting to life in the White House and received specialised training after being involved in two minor biting incidents.
The first lady told NBC's "Today Show" in April 2021 that the cat was "waiting in the wings" and that Major was being acclimated to cats. In September, however, she told The Times that the cat was "in foster care" and she wasn't sure whether she could "get the cat back."
Then, the White House announced — along with Commander's arrival in December 2021 — that the Bidens would finally bring home the cat and would rehome Major to a different living environment.
"After consulting with dog trainers, animal behaviourists, and veterinarians, the First Family has decided … it would be safest for Major to live in a quieter environment with family friends," LaRosa told The Times in December 2021. "This is not in reaction to any new or specific incident, but rather a decision reached after several months of deliberation as a family and discussions with experts."
The last cat to prowl the halls of the White House was President George W. Bush's cat, India. The Clintons' cat Socks was somewhat of a White House celebrity, even being walked around the White House grounds on a leash, but was eventually rehomed after clashing with the Clintons' black Lab Buddy.