by Greg Mayer
During this 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, it is edifying to recall that Abraham Lincoln was not only a great president, but a great cat-lover. “Disunion”, the NY Times series on the 150th anniversary (which is generally quite good), in a piece on regimental mascots and pets, notes that
Even President Lincoln wasn’t immune to the solace provided by animals during the war. When Mary Todd Lincoln was asked if her husband had a hobby, she replied, “cats.”
(From The PeraLion on tumblr)
The National Park Service elaborates on his aiulurophilia:
Abraham Lincoln, our sixteenth President, loved cats and could play with them for hours. When asked if her husband had a hobby, Mary Todd Lincoln replied, “cats.” President Lincoln visited General Grant at City Point, Virginia in March of 1865. The civil war was drawing to a close and the enormous task of reuniting the country lay ahead, yet the President made time to care for three orphaned kittens. Abraham Lincoln noticed three stray kittens in the telegraph hut. Picking them up and placing them in his lap, he asked about their mother. When the President learned that the kittens’ mother was dead, he made sure the kittens would be fed and a good home found for them.