Mount Vernon is not known to have been a particularly feline-friendly place. The absence of any mention of pet cats chez Washington may not have had so much to do with an aversion to hairballs as it did the family’s plethora of pet dogs and birds. Fido and feathered friends were more of the General and his wife’s style: Terriers, lapdogs, hunting hounds, plus a cockatoo, peacock and green parrot were only a few of the nonhuman inhabitants who called the Mansion and its grounds home. There were no doubt barn cats that kept the rodent population down as well as cats who belonged to slaves, the feline bones of which have been found in the layers of earth that constituted the cellar of a slave cabin. While the General may have seemed to have had nine lives throughout his battle-prone life, he likely didn’t have any cats.
Information courtesy of Mount Vernon historian Mary Thompson.
Photo compilation by Becca Milfeld; Cat photo courtesy of Flickr creative commons/dustin.askins.