President Calvin Coolidge and wife Grace had an incredible assortment of pets during their time in the White House. Some pets were traditional – dogs, cats, birds – while others fell into a far more exotic category.
Smoky the bobcat is one such pet. He was trapped in the wilds of Tennessee and given to the Coolidges as a gift from the Great Smoky Mountains Association. While the Coolidges were apprehensive about taking in a wild bobcat (justifiably, given all their other pets that Smoky would see as food) they felt they had no choice but to gracefully accept the bobcat. According to Margaret Truman in White House Pets: “The President wanted no part of that snarling, spitting bundle of dynamite, but he had to take it, for a very good reason. The county in which the dear little fellow had been captured was the tightest Republican stronghold in the United States of America.”
It’s unclear how long Smoky remained in residence at the White House. He received remarkably little press which makes it unlikely that he engaged in any shenanigans during his tenure. After accepting Smoky, the Coolidges rehomed him in a nearby zoo where he could be admired by all.