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No circus would be complete without a few animals.

So wouldn't you know the big crowd outside the U.S. Supreme Court today included a cat on a leash and an adorable chihuahua mix with health insurance.

Kaiser Health News' Jessica Marcy snapped the shot of the cat, stretched out on the steps leading to the courthouse, as she was rushing to cover the arrival of Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum.

He swung by to say that he, rather than Mitt Romney, is the right guy to do away with the administration's overhaul law.

Marcy told me she didn't have time to get the name of the cat or its owner.

But Neda Semnani, who writes the Heard on the Hill column for Roll Call, told me the cat is 13 years old and named "Pud," short for pudding.

She says cat and owner regularly walk around Washington when the weather is nice. "It was an unpolitical move," she says of their stroll today. She'll have more about them in Tuesday's paper. (Update: Here's Semnani's item.)

And then there's Ellie, a miniature dachshund and chihuahua mix. She came with Katherine Prather, a first year medical student at Georgetown University.

"I brought her because she has health insurance, and she thinks everyone should have health insurance," said Prather, of Kansas City, Mo.

Pets aren't covered by the health overhaul. But maybe they should be. The cost of health insurance for pets has surged, averaging $650 a year according to a recent report.

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