It’s a well-known fact that 10 Downing Street is the official residence of the British Prime minister, but many people are unaware that this iconic building also houses a brown-and-white tabby called Larry.
And Larry is no ordinary occupant, a substantial burden lies on his furry shoulders: keeping the 10 Downing Street rodent population down.
Since the 1500s, the Prime Minister’s office has employed helpful cats regularly. Still, only two cats—Larry and Humphrey—have held the title of “Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.”
Larry has a classic rags-to-riches story. Initially a stray cat, Larry was brought to the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home shelter.
In 2011, the moggy made a good impression on the Downing Street staff and was taken in to hold the Chief Mouser position.
He has been enjoying his newfound social status ever since.
An important role
According to Downing Street, Larry’s official duties include “greeting guests to the house, inspecting security defenses, and testing antique furniture for napping quality.”
Besides the previous responsibilities, the tomcat must also handle the mouse occupancy of the house.
Cats have long protected the residences of the British Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer from rats and mice. Hence, it’s a tradition that continues to this day with Larry.
During the first few months of 2011, Larry took his Chief Mouser’s role to heart, he famously got rid of many mice intruding into the building.
The following year, the feline got a new colleague named Freya, the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne’s cat. The two pets have enjoyed a successful working relationship.
Adopted under David Cameron, Larry the tabby was supposed to be the Cameron family’s cat, but the situation evolved. Larry remained in 10 Downing Street when Cameron left in 2016, much to everyone’s surprise. In his final intervention as Prime Minister, David Cameron explained that the feline was a civil servant, not Cameron’s property.
His next roommates were Theresa May and Boris Johnson and as Downing Street changed tenants, Larry’s stayed in place, which he didn’t mind!
An unofficial ambassador
Though Larry still bears the Chief Mouser title, our puss has gotten older and is no longer the skilled hunter he once was. Nowadays, the feline likes to lounge on the furniture, walk around and pose for those who recognize him.
Besides, his role is also to be a companion for the residents of the house. Thus, even though Larry is old enough to retire, no one questions his position.
Larry’s adoption wasn’t just linked to tradition, the tabby’s arrival at Downing Street made a significant statement against animal abuse.
Officials brought Larry in to remind citizens of their obligation of kindness toward animals and bridge the gap between politicians and constituents.
At the grand age of 15, Larry is now a senior cat. Nevertheless, he’s still in great shape, and so is his social media following.
His Twitter account has amassed more than 512,000 followers, the puss uses the platform to share his views on politics, the economy, and other pets.
As he likes to point out on his profile, Larry has been in position longer than any UK political party leader, so maybe one day, he’ll get knighted!