Introducing Willow, the Bidens' new cat from Pennsylvania

US president and first lady welcome feline to the White House

The dog-loving Bidens have finally fulfilled a key White House pledge: they got a cat named Willow. AFP / The White House

US President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden have added a long-promised extra member to their family — Willow the cat.

The 2-year-old, green-eyed, grey-and-white farm cat became acquainted with the first family during a campaign stop in Pennsylvania 2020.

“Willow made quite an impression on Dr Biden in 2020 when she jumped up on the stage and interrupted her remarks during a campaign stop,” Michael LaRosa, the first lady's spokesman, said in a news release.

“Seeing their immediate bond, the owner of the farm knew that Willow belonged with Dr Biden.”

The cat is named after the first lady's home town of Willow Grove, Pennsylvania, NPR reported. She is also the first cat to live in the White House since the George W Bush administration.

“Willow is settling into the White House with her favourite toys, treats and plenty of room to smell and explore,” said Mr LaRosa.

Ms Biden had said after Mr Biden was elected that they would bring a friendly feline to the White House, but her arrival was delayed. Last month, the White House indicated the cat would join the Biden pet family in January.

And Willow will have a few new playmates in her new home, joining Commander, a German shepherd puppy Mr Biden received in December as a birthday gift from his brother.

The Bidens had two other German shepherds, Champ and Major, at the White House before Commander.

But Major, a 3-year-old rescue dog, started behaving aggressively after he arrived in January 2021, including a pair of biting incidents.

The White House said Major was still adjusting to his new surroundings and he was sent back to the Bidens' Delaware home for training.

The Bidens, after consulting with dog trainers, animal behaviourists and veterinarians, decided to follow the experts’ collective recommendation and send Major to live in a quieter environment with family friends, Mr LaRosa said last month.

Champ died in June at age 13.

AP contributed to this report

Updated: January 28, 2022, 5:10 PM
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