In July 2004, protesters in Kerala, India, burned an effigy of President George W. Bush in protest of his cat’s name — India. In addition, members of the citizens group Prathikarana Vedi assembled before the Kerala assembly saying that the jet-black cat’s name was an insult to their country.
The cat in question was the Bush family’s longtime pet.
George and Laura Bush adopted India in late 1991 when their twin daughters, Jenna and Barbara, were 9 years old. At the time, Bush owned the Texas Ranger baseball team, and daughter Barbara named the ink-black cat after a star player, Rubén Sierra, who had the nickname “El Indio.”
The somewhat reclusive cat, who also had a nickname herself — Willie — moved with the family to the White House from the Texas Governor’s Mansion in 2001.
India was content to take a back seat to the Bushes’ well-known Scottish terriers, Barney and Miss Beazley. India was seen in some of the “Barneycam” videos shown on the White House website, however.
This Cute Presidential Cat Was a Bookworm
The White House website revealed that India’s favorite room in the White House was the library.
Her favorite book was the children’s picture book If You Take a Mouse to the Movies, by Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond. The website listed her favorite food as tuna-flavored kitty treats and her favorite sport as hiding from her humans under the bed.
India died at the age of 18 on Jan. 4, 2009, at the White House just weeks before the Bushes moved out in preparation for the Obama family.
In a statement for First Lady Laura Bush, Sally McDonough said, “India was a beloved member of the Bush family for almost two decades. She will be greatly missed.”