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Favourite animals

The President and the First Lady are very fond of animals; pets have always been much-loved members of the Kaczyński family. When the President’s daughter was a child, she enjoyed playing with animals and caring for them; the pets were different at that time, yet they are still remembered with affection.

 

Now the President and the First Lady own two dogs, Tytus and Lulla, and two cats, Rudolf and Molly. Tytus, Rudolf and Molly have been living at the Presidential Palace in Warsaw since December 2005; they immediately liked the new surroundings. In contrast, Lulla could not adapt to her new dwelling place and the First Family decided that it would be better for her to stay at her old home in Sopot, where she is the favourite pet of the President’s three-year-old granddaughter.

 

Tytus, Rudolf and Molly are not the first pets living at the Presidential Palace in Warsaw; former Polish Presidents were also keeping pets at the Palace and it has become a sort of tradition. However, Lech Kaczyński and Maria Kaczyńska seem unique in their love for animals.

Tytus

Tytus, a jet black Scottish Terrier, has been a member of the President’s family for more than 8 years, since the time when he was born.

Scottish Terriers are well known for their fierce loyalty and die-hard spirit; Tytus also possesses these qualities. He is cheerful and intelligent, but, like many other Scotties, may be eccentric and prankish at times. The First Lady describes some of his habits:

Tytus has a marked dislike for men wearing heavy boots and always starts barking at them. He may appear dangerous, but he never bites anybody. He is on friendly terms with Rudolf and Molly; when the animals wake up in the morning Tytus greets the cats by rubbing his nose against their noses. On the other hand, he may sometimes chase Rudolf and Molly around a room for the sheer fun of it, although he never does this with unknown cats that cross his path during a walk outside. He loves to play with tennis balls. When catching a ball, he sometimes jumps up in the air like a goalkeeper in soccer.

At the Presidential Palace Tytus sleeps in a wicker basket, spacious and comfortable, on a mattress covered with a tartan with red and green stripes. He mostly lives on pet food, but the President and the First Lady often give him something special, for instance some meat, which he loves. Tytus enjoys being fed by his owners; he is a much-loved family member.

Two other Scottish Terriers, much younger than Tytus, lived at the White House in Washington, D.C with the President George W. Bush.

Lulla


Lulla, sometimes affectionately called Lulinda, is a mixed-breed dog of unknown ancestry; she bears some resemblance to the Jack Russell Terrier. She is similar to one of the dogs that used to belong to the First Family in the past; his name was Bazyli and he was run over by a car in 1997, when he was twelve years old.

The First Lady recounts the circumstances in which Lulla became a member of the family:

My husband brought her home late at night on Holy Thursday in the year 2000. He noticed her at a filling station in Mława; he was driving from Warsaw to Sopot and stopped to refuel. The dog (later a veterinarian told us that she was approximately six months old at that time) was lapping water from puddles in the street. My husband gave her something to eat and when he heard that the dog had been wandering near the station for a week, he felt sorry for her and brought her to our home in Sopot, where we already had Tytus and Molly. Lulla was immediately accepted by them. She must have had some traumatic experiences in the past, because at the beginning she was extremely timid. She was afraid of people and was easily frightened by any unknown sound.

Lulla is deeply attached to all the members of the President’s family. Her greatest animal friend is Molly; they sleep side by side when they are together. At present Lulla lives in Sopot as the favourite pet of the President’s daughter and granddaughter.

Rudolf

Rudolf, a huge black and white cat, has been a member of the President’s family since January, 31st, 2004. The First Lady saw him for the first time on January, 11th, 2004, during the Polish première of the musical Cats at the Roma Musical Theatre in Warsaw. She describes their first meeting:

A magnificent tuxedo cat wearing a red harness and a red necktie was lying on a transparent box filled with coins and banknotes. He wore a collar inscribed GENERAL MANAGER and calmly eyed the audience. He was collecting money for the cats from the „Na Paluchu” animal shelter in Warsaw, the oldest animal shelter in the city. The staff of the shelter told me that he was called General Manager because he stayed at their office. He was so elegant that they had decided not to put him in one of the large cages where ordinary cats were kept. It was alleged that he had lost his former owner; a lady; the family that brought him to the shelter probably could not take care of him.

When I approached him and stroked his back, I did not have the slightest idea that he would become one of our pets. We already had one cat, Molly, and two dogs, Tytus and Lulla, but they stayed in Sopot. My husband was Mayor of Warsaw at that time and we were living in Warsaw; there were no pets at our Warsaw home.

Then somebody said that General Manager needed a new owner and a new home. I stood there, looking at the animal, and a few moments later I suddenly made a decision. “Yes, he will become our cat”, I thought. And on a frosty Saturday in January, the last day of the month, General Manager finally arrived at our Warsaw home. We called him Rudolf because of his good looks; Rudolph Valentino was considered handsome by our mothers and grandmothers.

Black and white cats with the colour pattern similar to Rudolf’s coloration, often called tuxedo cats in the United States and Jellicle cats in the United Kingdom, are prized by their owners, who consider them exceptional animals. Rudolf is also exceptional, full of character and wisdom.

The exact age of Rudolf is unknown. When he became a member of the President’s family, it was estimated that he was five or six years old. He quickly adapted to the life at the Presidential Palace.

Molly

Molly is a brownish tabby cat in white socks, now eleven years old. She is a mixed-breed animal of unknown ancestry; the First Lady vividly remembers the day when she first saw her:

Molly arrived at our home in Sopot on a very cold November day in 1995. My husband was about to drive to Warsaw and she suddenly slipped into his car. He liked her at first sight, took her in his hands and brought her to our flat. At that time we had two pets: a cat called Klara, who was already quite old, and a dog called Bazyli. Molly tried to make friends with Klara, but Klara was not happy with the idea and rejected her. Bazyli, on the other hand, liked Molly immediately. Molly has a friendly and affectionate nature. She purrs when we stroke her back and sometimes appears to understand human speech.

Molly is almost three times smaller than Rudolf, yet she has dominated him completely. She has good relations with Tytus and Lulla, although Tytus sometimes plays pranks on her. She is always spotlessly clean and well-groomed. She likes her new home at the Presidential Palace.

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