January 5th, 2009
01:06 PM ET
6 years ago

'First Cat' dies

President Bush and an aide carry the First Cat and First Dog onto Air Force One, when both pets occupied the White House.
President Bush and an aide carry the First Cat and First Dog onto Air Force One, when both pets occupied the White House.

(CNN) – The White House announced Monday that the First Cat had passed on.

"The President, Mrs. Bush, Barbara, and Jenna are deeply saddened by the passing of their cat India ('Willie'),” said spokeswoman Sally McDonough.

“The 18 year-old female black American Shorthair died Sunday, January 4, 2009 at home at the White House. When Barbara was nine years old, she named India after the former Texas Ranger baseball player, Ruben Sierra, who was called 'El Indio.' When Barbara and Jenna moved away to college, India, affectionately called “Kitty” by the family, stayed at the White House with the President and Mrs. Bush. India was a beloved member of the Bush family for almost two decades. She will be greatly missed."

The cat’s name became in issue in 2001 after Hindu nationalists said the original moniker was an insult — and urged followers to call their dogs ‘George Bush.’

Update: The First Lady's office said the cat's name did not change as a result of the Indian protests; the Bush daughters had both named and nicknamed the cat before arriving in the White House.

soundoff (313 Responses)
  1. Tom in Fl

    All the blogs on other stories such as the Obama girls are saying so what and who cares. Well, this is one that I need to say, "Is this newsworthy."

    January 5, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  2. Cammi317

    It's sad to lose a pet that has been a part of the family for so long. I have to say that I caught a case of the giggles at the end of the article "The cat’s name was changed to Willie in 2001 after Hindu nationalists said the original moniker was an insult — and urged followers to call their dogs ‘George Bush.’" LOL

    January 5, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  3. Scott

    Sorry to hear about the family pet.

    Issues over the name? Wow people are just too sensitive these days.

    January 5, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  4. Sherrol in Canada

    No comment

    January 5, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  5. david goldman

    I WILL MISS HER MORE THAN I'D MISS BUSH.

    SHE HAD BETTER HEALTH CARE THAN 25 MILLION OF

    OUR NATIONS CHILDREN & PROBABLY BETTER NUTRITION.

    January 5, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  6. SOUTHERN HOTTIE

    Meow?

    January 5, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  7. Shari, NY

    To those who think that the Obama girls first day of school is a non-issue, what sayest thou now?

    Let me say that the Bushes have my sympathy. The cat had more than nine lives and so must have been like a pillar in the household.

    January 5, 2009 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  8. California Gold

    It's terrible when a family loses a pet, especially after so many years. Condolences to India/Kitty's humans, Miss Beasley and Barney.

    January 5, 2009 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  9. Proud American

    Wow this is strange, the all of the Bush's pets are black?

    January 5, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  10. Newport News, VA

    I guess India didn't want to move to Dallas.

    January 5, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  11. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    WHO CARES?

    January 5, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  12. Jk

    What about all the troops and people that were killed in the wars you started George. You are a disgrace to America.

    January 5, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  13. Conservative James, Phoenix, AZ

    The cat's as dead as our economy and foreign policy and war on terror.

    Thank you, George W. Bush.

    January 5, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  14. Andre

    It's a cat!!! Don't we have more important things to discuss? What cares??!!

    January 5, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  15. Apples for sale

    This is truely a sad day.This poor cat loved the Whitehouse and sensed it had to move.It was the only one there that even had a clue.Goodbye Willie.

    January 5, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  16. Andy J, Upstate NY

    Hey, how about you put up a story about Burris saying his appointment to the senate was "Lord Ordained." In my opinion, it is more like his appointment was "tainted by scandal and a corrupt governor."

    If Palin had said this, it would be all over the MSM and the Libs would have a fit.

    A black Democrat says it, everyone needs to keep their mouth shut.

    SSHHHHHHH! Don't speak against a black man, especially a liberal democrat black man, you WILL be called a racist. You evil, evil, race baiting bigots!

    If it weren't so distressing, it would be hilarious.

    January 5, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  17. Snooper

    An obituary for a cat. The stupidest story I've read. Waste of cyberspace.

    January 5, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  18. Jenn

    WOW must be a real slow news day

    January 5, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  19. PoliticoMike

    If those pets could talk!

    January 5, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  20. Ron

    This is great stuff!! This country is in a state of severe economic turmoil and we can now read about the "The First Cat" dying!!

    January 5, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  21. Michael M, Phoenix AZ

    And the reason for this story is?

    January 5, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  22. Susan L.

    I didn't even know they'd had a cat. I thought they were dog people. I'm very sorry for the loss of their pet. I still think George W. Bush is the worst President ever. It's nice he supposedly at least liked his cat, though.

    January 5, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  23. Texas native

    Poor kitty! Shame is wasn't Bush! WE DON'T WANT YOU IN TEXAS.

    January 5, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  24. That Other Jerry

    Growing up I always heard it was bad luck to change a cat's name. I never put much stock in that, but looking at the Bush presidency after 2001, I'm seriously rethinking my belief in old wives' tales. I would probably add that the bad luck is even worse if you change the name in order to be politically correct.

    Seriously, it's tough to lose a pet. My condolences to the family.

    January 5, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  25. Ace

    18 years old thats a good life. My sympathy to the Bushes

    January 5, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
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