Did John F Kennedy have any cats?

The question is straightforward but the answer is not. Few pictures exist of the president John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) with any family cat. The White House Historical Association refers to the family of John F. Kennedy bringing Tom Kitten to the White House with pet hamsters Debbie and Billie, plus a canary, Robin.

Early picture of John Kennedy holding a kitten when visiting the Solomon Islands in 1943
Early picture of a young John F. Kennedy holding a kitten when visiting the Solomon Islands in 1943. Photographer unknown.

There is a picture of Jackie Kennedy and daughter Caroline looking happy with Tom Kitten in 1960. Tom Kitten was a grey cat it seems. Caroline is seen next to Tom with her mother smiling animatedly.

Below is another photo which also includes another kitten. Tom Kitten is the cat on the right.

Tom Kitten - the cat on the right - with Jackie Kennedy and Caroline her daughter
Tom Kitten - the cat on the right - with Jackie Kennedy and Caroline her daughter. I believe the photo is now in the public domain.

Dr Fogle, a veterinarian and author, says that Kennedy may have avoided photos of himself with cats including Tom Kitten because of the misplaced reputation that cats are sly, evil and untrustworthy. 

Perhaps he was playing safe knowing that a lot of people who dislike cats - and voters - believed bad things about cats. He wanted to protect his public image.

But it is said that he liked cats and the photo on this page supports that.

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