The Never-Was McKinley Kittens: Neither Killed Cats (Cats in the White House, Part 4)

The Angora Cat Never owned by the McKinleys.

The Angora Cat Never owned by the McKinleys.

Presidents and First Ladies are often uncredited for many things which they do.

William and Ida McKinley in their White House bedroom.

William and Ida McKinley in their White House bedroom.

And there are those who are blamed for many things they never did.

Like the legend that Dolley Madison started the annual tradition of the Easter Egg Roll persisting, despite the fact that no documentation of any kind exists to even suggest it, there is the story of the Angora kittens and Ida McKinley.

Even a century after the McKinley Administration, the “fact” persists in the popular lists of presidential pets that the Angora cat never owned by William and Ida McKinley had kittens.

And the arc of the story continues happily with news of the Angora never owned by the McKinleys having a litter of kittens, two of whom were never kept by the First Lady and which she never named after the Spanish Ambassador and the Spanish colonial governor of Cuba.

When the U.S. went to war with Spain in 1898, so the short and dark story ended, Mrs McKinley ordered the two kittens who never existed to be drowned because they represented enemies of her husband.

Contrary to the persistent lie, the McKinleys neither owned nor killed kittens.

Contrary to the persistent lie, the McKinleys neither owned nor killed kittens.

Apart from the fact that Ida McKinley was exceedingly gentle, particularly about any living being that was especially vulnerable, the fallacy of the story rests on one basic fact: the McKinleys never owned, never watched, never turned out for adoption, never even left a saucer of milk at the back door for any cat, kitten or other feline.

Ida McKinley, the new biography by the website author, being published on November 1.

Ida McKinley, the new biography by the website author, being published on November 1.

Where did such a nasty story begin and why?

After six years of researching every available source on the couple, in the writing of Ida McKinley: The Turn-of-the-Century First Lady through War, Assassination & Secret Disability, the first biography ever written of her, to be published on November 1, this author concludes that it was just one of many small news stories generated as anti-American propaganda by the Madrid media once the conflict between Spanish and American troops began in Cuba..

Of course, no good bit of drama has even gone wasted in the media, even if it is patently false. So, in all likelihood, the websites of pet shops, Wikipedia, and anything presidential will be reluctant to drop the story and the McKinleys will be damned as cat-killers for eternity.

McKinley had a Yellow-headed Amazon Parrot named Washington Post who could sing the first bars of both Dixie and Yankee Doodle.

McKinley had a Yellow-headed Amazon Parrot named Washington Post who sang.

What they did have, however, was a big, singing bird named “Washington Post.” A large yellow-headed Amazon parrot, “Wash” kept on its perch towards the end of the Administration and was more a pet of the presidential executive staff at the east end of the second floor, where the offices were then located, rather than in the family quarters in the west end.

The parrot was famous for being able to sing the first few bars of “Dixie,” “Yankee Doodle,” and a popular song of the period that was President McKinley’s favorite tune, “Louisiana Lou.”

When the U.S. military official who had succeeded in his intention to be the first to set foot on Cuba first set foot in the White House, his children brought the first felines to live in the old mansion since the days of the Hayes family.

And although his popularized nickname is most closely associated with stuffed bears, Teddy’s cats earned a name for themselves in the annals of animals of presidents.

"The Never-Was McKinley Kittens: Neither Killed Cats (Cats in the White House, Part 4)", out of 5 based on 12 ratings.

Categories: Cats of the White House, First Families, History, Presidents and Animals, The McKinleys

0 replies »

Trackbacks

  1. The White House in San Francisco « Carl Anthony Online
  2. A First Lady Survives Presidential Assassination Plus Rare Funeral Images « Carl Anthony Online
  3. The “Lost Girls” Ghosts of a President & His Wife Who Affected Presidential Policy

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: