Dear President-elect Obama:
I am writing to ask a favor, even though I have to admit I didn't vote for you, not because I didn't want you to be President, but because I am a cat.
Actually, my name is Sasha, the same as your younger daughter, and I live in a nice house in Falls Church, Virginia, a suburb of Washington. The couple I allow to live with me say they are yellow dog Democrats, whatever that means, and they are excited about your Inauguration, probably because they can rent out one of their bedrooms for $500 a night to one of the millions of people who want to attend your Inaugural.
Anyway, I've heard all this talk about you wanting to buy a dog for your daughters when you move into the White House. I hope you won't be offended, but this is a terrible idea. Do you know what kinds of problems dogs can cause, not to mention bringing fleas into the Oval Office, chewing on the rugs and biting reporters?
Surely, if you want to bring real change to Washington, you don't want the same kind of pet as President Bush. Look what Barney, a real publicity hound, did for him - 9/11, Iraq, Katrina and the worst financial collapse since the Great Depression. I don't have to remind you that President Nixon had a dog named Checkers, and look what happened to him.
No, if you and Michelle want to set a new tone for your presidency, you'll get your daughters a cat, just like Abraham Lincoln, the last President from Illinois, who was the first to bring a cat into the White House, which his son Tad brought from Springfield. Teddy Roosevelt and Gerald Ford also had cats, as did JFK, although he had to give it up because he was allergic to cats.
But please don't do like President Clinton and try to have it both ways by bringing a cat and a dog to the White House. Chelsea Clinton had Socks, the adorable cat the Clintons brought to Washington from Arkansas, but unfortunately, Socks couldn't stand her dad's Golden Retriever, Buddy. As Sen. Hillary Clinton, your new Secretary of State, said, Socks "despised Buddy from first sight, instantly and forever." You don't want that kind of disunity in your administration.
Unlike dogs, who need to be constantly reassured that you love them, we cats know who we are, and we do our jobs quietly and efficiently, not asking for any praise but only a warm place to sleep, some milk in a saucer, some dry cat food - I like Science Diet, with a little canned tuna on special occasions - and a convenient litter box. And we're good rat-catchers, which is a useful skill in the White House.
You can learn a lot by reading what others have said about cats. Mark Twain, for example, said, "A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way." And Allen North Whitehead said, "If a dog jumps into your lap, it is because he is fond of you; but if a cat does the same thing, it's because your lap is warmer." A good thing for a president to remember.
But two of the best things ever said about cats were these: "Cats are smarter than dogs. You can't get eight cats to pull a sled through snow" (Jeff Valdez), and "Dogs come when they're called; cats take a message and get back to you" (Mary Bly).
I hope I've made my point and that you'll consider getting one of my feline friends for your daughters. Just remember as you embark on this historic change in our national life, what Albert Schweitzer said: "There are two means of refuge from the misery of life - music and cats."