Last year, in one of my proudest accomplishments as a journalist, I helped hold the Bidens accountable on their promise to get a White House cat. For more than a year, President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden kept teasing in interviews that they were on the verge of adopting a cat. They even had the audacity to adopt a puppy, Commander, while the cat remained MIA. Then in January, the Bidens responded to the public outcry (i.e. jokes from a handful of kitty-loving reporters on Twitter), announcing that a two-year-old gray tabby named Willow had finally taken up residence in the White House.
Since then, everything’s been going swimmingly for the Bidens (on the cat front, at least). The administration released some adorable photos of Willow lounging around the West Wing. HarperCollins put out a children’s picture book “inspired by Willow Biden, the real first cat!” (It’s delightful, but apparently it was illustrated during the excruciating wait for Willow; the cat in the book is the wrong color.) The First Feline even made People’s list of “100 Reasons to Love America in 2022.”
Everyone is happy … except, perhaps, Willow. It seems the Bidens have become so attached to her that they couldn’t bear to leave her at the White House while they head home to Rehoboth, Delaware, for the weekend. Willow was spotted being carried into Marine One on Friday afternoon.
Michael LaRosa, the First Lady’s press secretary, told CNN that this is a regular occurrence, though it seemed this was news to reporters on the White House cat beat. “Willow often spends the weekends with the First Family, including in Rehoboth, Wilmington, and Camp David,” LaRosa said.
But every cat owner at Intelligencer shuddered at the thought of traveling with their pet on a noisy, turbulent helicopter. “It’s bad enough when they’re in the carrier!” remarked one colleague. “I will never forget my husband driving us into New York City in a moving truck with the cats screaming in their carriers in between us.” Another recalled a traumatic trip on a much more stable aircraft: “The last time my cats flew, they were dead silent for three hours and then one very violently barfed halfway through landing.” A third co-worker remarked, “My cat would murder everyone in the helicopter.”
Perhaps Willow is the rare cat that loves vehicles. It’s been known to happen!
Though, upon further investigation, that actually did not go so well for the humans involved. Maybe it isn’t Willow that we should be worried about.