Abraham Lincoln and Cats

Abraham Lincoln and Cats


Abraham Lincoln loved cats and once let one eat from the table during a formal White House dinner.


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President Abraham Lincoln "possessed extraordinary kindness of heart when his feelings could be reached," wrote Treasury official Mansell B. Field in his memoirs. "He was fond of dumb animals, especially cats. I have seen him fondle one for an hour. Helplessness and suffering touched him when they appealed directly to his senses, or when you could penetrate through his intelligence to them."

Lincoln, who decided to leave his dog Fido home in Springfield, Ill., when he was elected president, was given an unexpected gift of two kittens from Secretary of State William Seward.

The president doted on the cats, which he named Tabby and Dixie, so much that he once fed Tabby from the table during a formal dinner at the White House.

When Lincoln's embarrassed wife later observed that the action was "shameful in front of their guests" the president replied, "If the gold fork was good enough for former President James Buchanan, I think it is good enough for Tabby."


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