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Note to the Obamas: Consider a first cat

November 07, 2012|By Carla Hall
  • The Obamas' dog, Bo, poses for his official portrait on the North Lawn of the White House.
The Obamas' dog, Bo, poses for his official portrait on the North Lawn… (CHhuck Kennedy / AFP/The…)

President Obama made it clear Tuesday night in his victory speech that there was one act he carried out in his first term that would not be repeated in his second: There will not be a second first dog. 

Alluding to the promise he made in his first victory speech -- that his two daughters had “earned” the puppy that would be coming with them to the White House -- Obama said he was proud of Sasha and Malia, then added, “But I will say that for now, one dog’s probably enough.”  

I love that he gave himself an out -- “probably enough” -- in case Sasha, 11, and Malia, 14, are persuasive enough to change his mind. It’s understandable why, as parents, the Obamas think one canine is enough.  The girls are growing up and busy. The cute puppy, Bo, also grew and is now a big Portuguese water dog. 

Perhaps the first family should consider getting a first cat. They’re quieter than dogs, less labor intensive -- not that staff is a problem in the White House -- and really good at amusing themselves. Malia Obama has pet allergies, but there are some breeds of cats -- for instance, the Oriental shorthair, the Javanese and the Balinese -- that produce fewer allergens than others. (No dog or cat is completely nonallergenic.)  And they all have fur; they're not those creepy-looking hairless cats. 

Conveniently for the Obamas, there are cats in a couple of these breeds available from rescue groups in the Washington area listed on petfinder.com. Most animal welfare advocates urge people to get their pets from rescue groups or shelters.  And in many municipal shelters, homeless cats are euthanized at higher rates than dogs.  So there are plenty of cats in search of homes, whether it’s the White House -- or something more modest.

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