Socks (cat)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Socks in 1994
Other name(s)First Cat, First Cat of the United States
BreedDomestic short-haired cat
Bornc. 1989
Little Rock, Arkansas, U.S.
Died (aged 20)
Hollywood, Maryland, U.S.
Cause of deathEuthanasia
OccupationFirst Cat of the United States (1993–2001)
First Cat of Arkansas (1991–92)
OwnerClinton family (1991-2001)
Betty Currie (2001-2009)
AppearanceBlack-and-white tuxedo

Socks Clinton (c. 1989 – February 20, 2009) was the pet cat of the Clinton family, the first family of the United States from 1993 to 2001. An adopted stray cat, he was the only pet of the Clintons during the early years of the administration, and his likeness hosted the children's version of the White House website.[1] After Clinton left office, Socks resided with former Clinton secretary Betty Currie and her husband, owing to continuing conflicts with the Clintons' dog Buddy.[2][3]


Socks was likely born in early 1989, based on a veterinarian's estimate that he would have turned 20 in early 2009.[4] He was originally a stray and was adopted by the Clintons in 1991 after he jumped into the arms of Chelsea Clinton as she was leaving the house of her piano teacher in Little Rock, Arkansas, where he was playing with his sibling, Midnight, who was later adopted by another family.[5] His name was inspired by his white paws,[6] which resembled those of the title character of the Beverly Cleary novel Socks.[7]

When Bill Clinton became president, Socks moved with the family from the governor's mansion to the White House and became the principal pet of the First Family in Clinton's first term. He was often taken to schools and hospitals. During the Clinton administration, children visiting the White House website would be guided by a cartoon version of Socks.[1]

Bill Clinton said, "I did better with the Palestinians and the Israelis than I've done with Socks and Buddy."[8] When the Clintons left the White House in 2001, they took Buddy to their new home, but left Socks under the care of Bill Clinton's secretary, Betty Currie. Buddy would die within a year, being hit by a car in 2002.[9]

By June 2008, Socks was still living with Currie and her husband in Hollywood, Maryland, about 60 miles from Washington, but had a thyroid condition, hair loss, weight loss, and kidney problems.[10]

In December 2008, Socks was reported to be in failing health, apparently suffering from cancer.[11] Socks was euthanized on February 20, 2009, in Hollywood, Maryland,[12] after suffering cancer of the jaw.[4] Time had an obituary of Socks in its milestones section.[13]


Representative Dan Burton, then the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, once publicly questioned the use of White House staff, postage, and stationery to answer mail addressed to the cat.[14]

Cultural references[edit]

First Lady Hillary Clinton carried a Socks-shaped minaudière to the 1997 Inaugural Ball. It was designed by Judith Leiber, a designer famous for her whimsically shaped, rhinestone-encrusted evening bags. The bag is currently on display at the Amsterdam Museum of Bags and Purses.[15]

Hillary Clinton wrote a children's book called Dear Socks, Dear Buddy: Kids' Letters to the First Pets in 1998.[16]

A cartoon book called Socks Goes to Washington: The Diary of America's First Cat, written by Michael O'Donoghue and Jean-Claude Suares, was published in 1993.[17]

Socks was featured prominently in an episode of the sitcom Murphy Brown in December 1993 entitled "Sox and the Single Girl", in which Socks is inadvertently removed from the White House during a press dinner.[18] On the April 1, 1994, edition of Larry King Live, a Muppet version of Socks was a special guest interviewed by Kermit the Frog, who was guest hosting for Larry King at the time.[19]

Socks was to be the subject of a canceled 1993 video game entitled Socks the Cat Rocks the Hill for the Super NES and Sega Genesis platforms.[20] The game was released in 2018.

In his announcement of the Next Generation Internet Initiative in 1996, Bill Clinton said, "When I took office, only high energy physicists had ever heard of what is called the World Wide Web. Now even my cat has its own page."[21]

Steve Bell's long running cartoon series If in The Guardian included Socks as a recurring character with more influence on politics than is generally assumed.[22]

The women's clothing brand Soccx, produced by the German company Clinton Großhandels-GmbH, was named after Socks. The company's other brands, Camp David and Chelsea, are also references to the Clintons.[23]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "The White House for Kids". Archived from the original on June 20, 2019. Retrieved November 22, 2009 – via National Archives.
  2. ^ "As Peace Process Fails, First Cat Prepares for Exile". The New York Times. January 10, 2001. Retrieved April 16, 2009.
  3. ^ Herring, Hubert B. "Betty Currie". The New York Times. Archived from the original on December 19, 2008. Retrieved April 16, 2009.
  4. ^ a b Craton, Susan (February 20, 2009). "Socks, former First Cat, dies". Archived from the original on July 16, 2011. Retrieved February 28, 2011.
  5. ^ Cellania, Miss (February 24, 2009). "The Nine Lives of Socks Clinton". Mental Floss. Retrieved September 19, 2013.
  6. ^ "About Socks and Buddy". 1999. Retrieved May 20, 2021.
  7. ^ Hoffman, Jordan (March 27, 2021). "Beverly Cleary, Author of Children's Books, Dies at Age 104". Vanity Fair. Condé Nast. Retrieved May 20, 2021.
  8. ^ "President Clinton Touts Economy While President-elect Bush Warns of Slowdown". CNN. January 12, 2001. Retrieved October 22, 2007.
  9. ^ "Former First Dog Buddy Killed by Car". January 3, 2002. Archived from the original on July 5, 2011. Retrieved June 25, 2011.
  10. ^ "Socks still rocks", Southern Maryland Newspapers Online, June 6, 2008.
  11. ^ "Clinton's Socks the Cat Near Death", U.S. News, December 12, 2008.
  12. ^ "Socks, former Clinton cat, put to sleep". CNN. February 20, 2009. Retrieved May 23, 2010.
  13. ^ "Milestones". Time. November 9, 2023. Archived from the original on November 9, 2023. Retrieved November 9, 2023.
  14. ^ "Burton: A 'Pit Bull' in the Chair". The Washington Post. March 19, 1997. Retrieved February 28, 2011.
  15. ^ "Evening bag 'Socks', Judith Leiber, USA, 1996". Museum of Bags and Purses. Archived from the original on July 1, 2018.
  16. ^ Clinton, Hillary, Dear Socks, Dear Buddy: Kids' Letters to the First Pets, Simon & Schuster, 1998, ISBN 0-684-85778-2, ISBN 978-0-684-85778-7
  17. ^ O'Donoghue, Michael; Suarès, Jean-Claude (1993). Socks Goes to Washington: The Diary of America's First Cat. ISBN 1565660420.
  18. ^ ""Murphy Brown": Sox and the Single Girl".
  19. ^ "Tough Pigs Anthology: April Frog's Day, April 2002: Part Six: Watch What You Do". Retrieved February 28, 2011.
  20. ^ G., Evan (April 1, 2012). "Socks the Cat Rocks the Hill". Snes Central. Archived from the original on December 8, 2015. Retrieved December 11, 2020.
  21. ^ "Internet Growth Statistics - Global Village Online". October 12, 2010. Retrieved February 28, 2011.
  22. ^ Guardian published November 2008 retrieved 17th April 2023
  23. ^ "CAMP DAVID SOCCX - Das Wichtigsten auf einen Blick" (in German). August 10, 2018.

External links[edit]

Honorary titles
Preceded by
Misty Malarky Ying Yang
(Amy Carter's
Siamese cat)
United States presidential cat
January 20, 1993 – January 20, 2001
Succeeded by