In the Big Book clean-out, we found a book of bathroom trivia, which we have put, where else?, in the bathroom. Because of that I know that Rutherford B. Hayes was the first person in the United States to own a Siamese cat. She was given to Mrs. Hayes by David Sickels, the American consul in Bangkok and was named Siam.
Siam had a long journey and probably used up quite a few of her nine lives on the way from Thailand. She was first shipped to Hong Kong, then to San Francisco; and from there, she traveled by land to Washington.
Elegant and slender with long legs and bright blue eyes, Siam created quite a stir in the White House. Lucy Hayes at first named the cat Miss Pussy, but changed her name to Siam after noticing her regal bearing and high-born attitude. The cat soon became a favorite of Fanny, the president’s daughter.
Sadly, Siam became sick several months after arriving in our nation’s capital. Even though the president’s own physician was asked to examine the cat, Siam did not recover. Records show that instructions were given to preserve the cat’s body, but a stuffed Siam has never been found, according to the Hayes Presidential Center.
There were two other presidents who had Siamese cats. Gerald Ford's daughter Susan had Shan:
and Amy Carter had Misty Malarky Ying Yang
I am not a fan of Siamese cats. I acquired my dislike of Siamese cats when I lived for about six months with Char and Mike and then-baby Tavie (now in her 50s). The cat was named Yom (short for Yom Kippur, a logical name for this nice Catholic family) and every morning he woke me up by reaching his paw under the door of the bedroom that Tavie and I shared and scratching the inside of the door, crying that annoying Siamese meow (Siamese cats are acknowledged to be the most talkative breed of cat. Their meow is often likened to the cry of a baby.).
In those days, I worked in the Physics Department of the University of California, and dressed nicely for work, including heels and stockings. Yom and I had a battle every morning. As I walked down the hall, the sound of my legs rubbing together was an enticement for him to attack my legs and I cannot tell you how many days I had to go back into my room and change my stockings because his claws had caused a run.
For Christmas that year, Yom gave me a box of stockings as a gift.