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Presidential Pets Through the Years, and Some Are Shockingly Strange!

The third Monday of February is President's Day, a day to celebrate the birthdays of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Taking nothing away from their birthdays, we decided to look into the four-legged, sometimes three-legged, pets that roamed the yards at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue!

Being the POTUS is a tough job, some would say. Having a pet by their side as a world leader has likely made it a bit less stressful for each sitting president that opted to do so. For starters, there have been only three presidents who haven't had a pet during their term. That's okay and understandable, as they were busy running the country. As a president, not having a pet might make them an "odd man out," but some presidents owned very questionable pets. Let's look at some of the pets our current and previous Presidents have had.

presidential pets graph

You will find more infographics at Statista.

According to the above graph, US Presidents' estimated number of pets is about 298 animals. President Theodore Roosevelt had the most pets owned as a president at 48. He owned a few strange pets, including a black bear, a badger, a hyena, and even a three-legged rooster. That list of "pets" is just the tip of the iceberg! President Calvin Coolidge owned two raccoons, a donkey, a bobcat, lion cubs, a Pygmy hippopotamus, a wallaby, a duiker (antelope, a black bear, and 13 Pekin ducks. John Quincy Adams owned silkworms and an alligator, which some posit may be a myth. However, Benjamin Harrison did own two alligators who lived in the White House conservatory. He also kept two opossums as pets during his presidency. Nothing screams American pride like owning a Bald Eagle, which President James Buchanan had as a pet. Martin Van Buren had two tiger cubs, but Congress ultimately forced him to donate them to a zoo. Founding Father Thomas Jefferson owned two grizzly bears. The next group of presidents all owned farm animals that graced the White House grounds. William Howard Taft had two cows. George W. Bush had a longhorn cow. President Woodrow Wilson owned 48 sheep and a ram at one point during his time! While all the previously mentioned presidents had a wide assortment of weird pets, most of them also had dogs, cats, and what most consider to be other "normal" pets.

If you're wondering what other animals have been lucky enough to be the pets of Presidents and their families, CNN made an interesting graphic for each of the Presidents.

We hope this has been enlightening for you, as it was for us! But of course, the care of your pets is our top priority. If you are overdue for preventive care a wellness exam for your cat or dog, please give us a call!