“I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights. That is the way of a whole human being.”
Abraham Lincoln’s cat, Tabby, was the first of several White House cats. Source.
Here’s a bit more about Lincoln and his love of animals:
Abraham Lincoln, our sixteenth President, loved cats and could play with them for hours. When asked if her husband had a hobby, Mary Todd Lincoln replied, “cats.” President Lincoln visited General Grant at City Point, Virginia in March of 1865. The civil war was drawing to a close and the enormous task of reuniting the country lay ahead, yet the President made time to care for three orphaned kittens. Abraham Lincoln noticed three stray kittens in the telegraph hut. Picking them up and placing them in his lap, he asked about their mother. When the President learned that the kittens’ mother was dead, he made sure the kittens would be fed and a good home found for them.
President Lincoln’s compassion extended to turkeys, too. Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation on October 3, 1863, setting aside the last Thursday of November, “as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise.” A turkey was sent to the White House for Thanksgiving dinner in 1863, and Tad, Lincoln’s son, named him Tom. Tad befriended the turkey and pleaded with his father to grant “Tom” a stay of execution. Abraham Lincoln took time out from a cabinet meeting to issue “an order of reprieve,” sparing the turkey’s life.
Mr. Lincoln’s compassion extended to dogs, too. Fido was a mixed breed with floppy ears and a yellowish coat. When fireworks and cannons announced Abraham Lincoln’s victory in the Presidential election of 1860, poor Fido was terrified. The Lincolns were worried that the long train trip to Washington,DC, combined with loud noises, would terrify Fido. John and Frank Roll, two neighborhood boys, promised to take good care of Fido. Mr. Lincoln made them promise to let Fido inside the house whenever he scratched at the front door, never scold Fido for entering the house with muddy paws, and feed him if he came to the dinner table. The Lincolns gave the Rolls their sofa so Fido would feel at home! Did you know “Fido” is Latin? Fido is from “Fidelitas” which translates as “faithful.”
Nanny and Nanko were White House goats. Tad and Willie liked to hitch the goats to carts or kitchen chairs and have the goats pull them through the White House. Both Nanny and Nanko liked to chew things. Nanny got in trouble for chewing up the flowers at the Old Soldier’s Home. Nanko got in trouble for chewing the bulbs planted by White House Gardener, John Watt.
The Lincolns also had rabbits and cats. Mr. Lincoln named his horse Old Bob. Old Bob was the rider-less horse with a pair of boots turned backward in the stirrups in Abraham Lincoln’s funeral procession.
While researching Joaquin Phoenix for a blog post I discovered that he had narrated a film called “Earthlings” back in 2007.
Using hidden cameras and never-before-seen footage, EARTHLINGS chronicles the day-to-day practices of the largest industries in the world, all of which rely entirely on animals for profit.
This powerful movie currently has a rating of 8.4 out of 10 starts over at IMDb.
And, I just found out yesterday, this movie is being made available for free at the web site earthlings.com. If you care about how animals are treated on this planet it is a movie I highly recommend.
DISCLAIMER: The film is extremely graphic and contains a lot of footage depicting the killing of animals. This is an important film but may be too upsetting for some viewers.
If you are willing to take a look, visit the earthlings.com, click “Watch Now” near the top-right corner, then scroll down to the bottom and click the thumbnail image labeled “Full video.”
I love Lincoln, and I love cats, but until now I didn’t know Lincoln loved cats! Thanks!
I studied Latin in high school (yes, I’m that much of a nerd), so I have always loved word meanings. We sang “Adeste Fidelis” (Come all ye Faithful) in my Catholic church when I was growing up, where we were marinated in Latin, and of course the Marine motto is Semper Fi for Semper Fidelis, (Always Faithful). High Fidelity is good, too!
I’m not sure I could bear to see the Earthlings movie, but maybe I can get up the courage.
In addition to our deaf cat, we now have a puppy staying at our house. Now I know the true meaning of “A dog ate my homework!”
Here’s a shameless plug for some of my Lincoln-related posts.
I just googled the words to the Latin “Oh Come All Ye Faithful” I’m sure they did not sing this at the recent Atheist Conference in Australia! — Adeste, fideles, laeti triumphantes; Venite, venite in Bethlehem. Natum videte Regem angelorum. Refrain. Venite adoremus, venite adoremus,
I hope I didn’t kill the discussion here with my ramblings…
Here’s another link to another article about another president — Ulysses Grant.
NY Times Op-Ed Contributor
Who’s Buried in the History Books?
By SEAN WILENTZ
Published: March 14, 2010
Ulysses S. Grant deserves his spot on the $50 bill — and among our greatest presidents.