Former first cat Socks is in a better place -- the Arkansas Governor's Mansion flower garden
Former first cat Socks, the pet of President Clinton's daughter, Chelsea, has been laid to rest at the Arkansas Governor's Mansion in Little Rock. A portion of the black-and-white cat's ashes were scattered in a flower garden on the west side of the mansion in the spring, according to the Northwest Arkansas Morning News.
When the Clintons lived at the mansion, "that's where Socks hung out, on the back porch there," Ron Maxwell, the mansion's administrator, told the Morning News. A small plaque placed on the porch notes that Socks was Arkansas' first cat from 1991 to 1993 and America's first cat from 1993 to 2001. The urn that once held his ashes now sits in the Clinton Presidential Library; Maxwell called it "an interesting oddity for kids and whoever is interested in the cat."
Socks joined the Clinton family in 1991 and accompanied the Clintons to the White House. During his tenure as first cat, he was perhaps the most talked-about cat in the country, although his public status was somewhat diminished when the Clintons brought home a chocolate Labrador retriever, Buddy. The first cat and first dog got along like -- well, you know -- and Clinton once famously told CNN, "I did better with the Arabs -- the Palestinians and the Israelis -- than I have done with Socks and Buddy." (Socks was also commemorated, somewhat weirdly, on a set of Central African Republic stamps.)
When Clinton left office, Socks was sent to live with the former presidential secretary, Betty Currie, with whom he remained until his death. Last December, he was reported to be gravely ill with cancer. The Currie family had apparently decided to forgo keeping him alive with a feeding tube, fearing that, at 19, he was too old for such treatment. He was eventually euthanized in February to end his suffering, after which Currie told a reporter she was "miserable, miserable, miserable." Bill and Hillary Clinton released a statement saying they were "grateful" for happy memories of Socks and thanking Currie for taking good care of him in his final years.
-- Lindsay Barnett
Photo: Socks during a 1996 public appearance. Credit: Ruth Fremson / Associated Press