Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office, one of the most high profile cabinet positions in England, was recently filled after a long vacancy. Larry, a 3-year-old tabby, was recently selected to rid 10 Downing Street, the residence of the Prime Minister, of the rats and mice that occasionally plague the building.
Prime Minister has problem with rats
In the past few months, rats were spotted during press conferences at Number 10 Downing Street, the office and residence of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, according to The Telegraph, making it necessary to fill a long vacant position. Prime Minister David Cameron also noticed a contingent of mice in the residential quarter and took a picture with his phone of one mouse. Calls were made and a new Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office was appointed. He moved into the Downing Street complex in February of this year. Larry, a young tabby from the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, became the official mouser of the United Kingdom and recently began bagging mice.
Mouse that modeled pays ultimate price
Some photo ops can be dangerous, and the mouse that the Prime Minister photographed has reportedly paid the ultimate price. The rats of Downing Street, however, have been conspicuously absent since Larry’s arrival. Employing a mouser at the offices of the English government, according to Wikipedia, costs 100 pounds (about $170) per year and has been a source of considerable savings to Her Majesty’s Government. The Wikipedia biography of a former Chief Mouser, a long-haired cat named Humphrey, mentions that paying an exterminator in the 1980s cost about 4,000 pounds per year, and that would be considerably higher today. The cat employed by the English government is a somewhat cherished position; there is even a Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office Facebook page.
Long history of government pets
Though it may seem silly, there was been a cat employed by the British government continually from 1929 to 1997. Tony Blair and his wife Cherie Blair got rid of the then-incumbent cat Humphrey, and Gordon Brown briefly had a cat named Sybil, though Sybil’s tenure lasted less than a year before the cat was sent back to Scotland. Usually, the cats are from animal shelters. As payment they receive a good home, proper medical care and all the mice they can eat. They aren’t the only government pets, though. There is an animal sanctuary outside the Canadian Parliament devoted to stray cats of Ottowa that are cared for using private donations. Nearly every American president has had a dog at one point. The Clintons’ cat Socks became a celebrity in his own right. Some U.S. Presidents had odd pets. Thomas Jefferson kept two bears, John Quincy Adams had an alligator, and Calvin Coolidge had a menagerie including a bear, raccoons, a wallaby, a pygmy hippopotamus and a bobcat.
The Telegraph: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/8568329/Larry-the-Downing-Street-cat-kills-mouse-that-looked-at-David-Cameron.html
Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ChiefMouserToTheCabinet
Wikipedia on Chief Mouser: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chief_Mouser_to_the_Cabinet_Office
Canadian Parliamentary Cats: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_Parliamentary_Cats
List of Presidential Pets: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_Presidential_pets
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