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. Ziyad

    kids and old people get killed in Gazah and here you are talking about dying cat, feel so sorry for cnn

    January 5, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  2. M2K

    Aww, meowwwww

    January 5, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  3. SMR

    This cat lived a long life and i'm sure its heart hurts for the American people.

    January 5, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  4. Ms. Dickens

    God Bless Willie, AKA India, who in a very dignified manner took the peaceful way out after hearing that Bush 41 recommended George Boy's brother Jeb for the Oval Office. Says Willie "I am not cleaning anymore litter bins. The first family and their relatives and lobbying buddies were enough, but I always stuck cleaing up the Rumsfeld, Chaney, Rice, Wolfkowitz messes and disaters as well

    Willie, Rest in Peace, you earned it!

    January 5, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  5. richard

    You democrats are just pure EVEL.

    January 5, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  6. Becky

    Funny, how an animal can steal your heart and be just like a member of the family. just want to let President and Mrs. Bush know, that I am sorry to read about this. But boy! what a life she must of led! If only animals could talk.

    January 5, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  7. Noah

    Funny how it is stupid when the Bush's cat dies, but it is completely newsworthy when the Obamas choose a dog. Crazy liberals

    January 5, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  8. ETHO

    WHO CARES?

    January 5, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  9. Flash news

    @SCNH STN,Read my middle finger.I will respect the office when I dont consider the person in it a criminal,thank you.And thank you CNN.

    January 5, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  10. Charlotte

    My sympathies to the Bushes about their kitty. It's always sad to lose a family member, whether two-legged or four-legged.

    January 5, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  11. Maria Loi

    So sad, I think Bush is a kind man. He loves his animals. It is just unfortunate that he is a republican President and had to do the war because his party's wants it and cause such a lot of hardship to the unfortunate. This is one situation when a President is where he is at the wrong time!
    Please give him a break after he leaves as the 43rd President of USA!
    Cheers,
    Maria Loi

    January 5, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    My sympathy to the Bushes on the loss of their cat, and for all those people that don't have the heart to feel the pain of losing a pet shouldn' even bother to voice their opinion.

    Life is too short, be happy and be positive.

    January 5, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  13. Spencer/Virginia

    Is the White House American Flag at half-staff?

    January 5, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  14. bob

    To those writing nasty stuff and condemning CNN for posting the story. SHAME on You. Are you sinless? Havent you done something nasty?

    At least show empathy, condolense..he is after all human.

    January 5, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  15. Gene in Canada

    Why is this even newsworthy? Just because it was Dubbya's cat?
    Brutal......

    January 5, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  16. DigDug

    For those who want to name your dog George Bush, don't you realize you're insulting dogs everywhere?

    January 5, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  17. Andy

    I guess the cats bailout got granted

    January 5, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  18. Chris

    I agree with Susan. it is a sad time when a beloved member of the family dies. It is too bad so many people throw out political jabs during this sad time. The story is about the loss of a member of the Bush family. If any of you had just a portion of the character of a family pet, this country wouldn't be in the sad state of affairs it is in now.

    This is truly a loss and my condolences go out to the Bush family.

    January 5, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  19. Andrea

    Poor kitty! I hope she had a great life.

    January 5, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  20. Jon

    I have two cats, my female is a black domestic short-hair just like India. My sympathies go out to the Bush family for their loss, I know how much love and friendship these little animals can give. At the moment I feel real empathy for the President and his family – as this is a very human experience that transcends politics...RIP little Kitty!

    January 5, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  21. joel

    Did VP Cheney shoot it?

    January 5, 2009 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  22. Ken, TX

    The cat was 18-YEAR old. It's like saying a person that's 90-year old. It is not a sad news. That cat had a good life.

    January 5, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  23. randy - northern VA

    You're here, there's nothing I fear,
    And I know that my heart will go on
    We'll stay forever this way
    You are safe in my heart
    And my heart will go on and on

    No... no..... I refuse to believe she is dead until I see a death certificate. It has to be the offical one too not a copy or a notice of death.

    January 5, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  24. Matt

    I can haz cheezbrgr?

    January 5, 2009 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  25. sensible Cape Coral FL

    PAT M.:

    No cat is stupid. Stupid only describes people. (like you?)

    January 5, 2009 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
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