Clinton's Socks the Cat Near Death

Socks the Cat, one of the most famous presidential pets, has cancer and isn't expected to survive.

By + More

By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers.

Credit: Barbara Kinney/The White House

We have some bad news today on the presidential pet front. Socks the cat, probably the most photographed presidential kitty in history, has cancer and isn't expected to live. "His days are numbered," says Barry Landau, a friend of Socks' master, Betty Currie. Landau, a presidential historian and author of The President's Table, tells our Suzi Parker that the Currie family could have put Socks on feeding tubes, but decided against it. "They fear he is too old," adds Landau, who is writing a book on presidential inaugurations. And a second source told us that Socks is gravely ill.

Recall that Currie, who lives in Southern Maryland and was Bill Clinton's personal secretary, took Socks after the Democrats left office. At the time, Hillary Clinton had been elected to the Senate and Bubba was moving to New York to run his foundation.

In recent years, Socks has been hanging out at Currie's Hollywood, Md., home and sometimes making guest appearances. But since we last wrote about Socks, his conditions have worsened and included weight loss and kidney problems. Southern Maryland Newspapers Online did a wonderful story about this last year, quoting Currie's husband Bob saying what lots of us pet owners say: Socks "lives better than I do."

Linda Kulman, who ghost wrote Hillary Clinton's book, Dear Socks, Dear Buddy: Kids's Letters To First Pets, was saddened by the news, telling me, "He is the last of his kind." For the book, Kulman, says she "spent time" with Socks and Clinton's first pup Buddy. "He was nothing but a gentleman. He was elegant and a perfect resident of the White House." She adds, "he won't soon be replaced."

The Clintons adopted Socks in 1991, when Bill was still governor of Arkansas. Neither the Curries nor the Clintons had immediate comment.