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The Washingtons: Not Cat People

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.

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One Response to “The Washingtons: Not Cat People”

  1. Rob Says:

    My wife will be heart broken… She loves Mr. Washington and cats. I recently heard they found a grave marker of a pet cat on the grounds of Ferry Farm. That doesn’t prove a point to Mr. Washington liking cats at all, but it shows someone in his family did.

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Kids holding George Washington Portrait

Mount Vernon recently invited K-12 schools nationwide to request framed portraits of George Washington to display in a respectful, prominent place.

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