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Former First Feline to be honoured in Little Rock

Little Rock, Dec 7 (Reuters): Former first feline Socks the cat, the ultimate insider of two Clinton administrations, will return home to Arkansas for the first time since leaving the White House and be honoured in a parade through the state’s capital, organisers said yesterday.

Socks will be the grand marshal of the annual Little Rock Christmas parade. The 11-year-old cat will lead the parade and ride aboard a vintage 1967 Ford Mustang convertible owned by former US President Bill Clinton. It will mark the first return to Arkansas in about 10 years for the stray cat adopted by the Clinton family. Holding Socks in the parade will be Jackye Parker, principal of a Little Rock elementary school named for Clinton, and some of the school’s students.

Socks, so named by Chelsea Clinton in recognition of his four white paws, is an otherwise coal black cat adopted by the former President’s daughter in 1991, while her father was still governor of Arkansas.

When Clinton won the presidency in 1992, Socks, by then a celebrity, moved to the White House with the family. When Clinton’s eight-year tenure as President ended, he and Hillary moved to New York, from where the former First Lady won a seat in the Senate.

Chelsea Clinton, now studying at Oxford University in England, entrusted Socks to her father’s White House secretary, Betty Currie of Washington, who is accompanying the cat to Little Rock. “It will be quite a homecoming for Socks,” said Linda Caillouet of the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau.

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