Colin Powell, the cat, met Friday with Colin Powell (search), the secretary of state, who heaped praise on the uneasy black feline as "the best cat in the country."

"Hey, Colin, how are you," Powell, the secretary of state, said when they were introduced in the treaty room on the seventh floor of the State Department (search) before cameras and cat fanciers. "It's nice to have you here."

The prize-winning cat, a copper-eyed Bombay born in the Brookfield, Conn., home of Sharyn and Sig Hauck, on the first anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, responded with a hesitant purr, and had nothing further to offer reporters, on the record or otherwise.

Colin Powell, the secretary of state, said he had been given the chance to name the recently born offspring of Colin, the cat, and had chosen Ralph Bunche (search), in honor of the late diplomat.

Hauck, explaining later how Colin the cat got his name, said, "We name all of our black cats after prominent African-Americans."

The cat's parents were named after musician Isaac Hayes and author Jamaica Kincaid, his grandmother after Rosa Parks, the integrationist.