Britain's political landscape may be in turmoil right now, but thankfully among all the upheaval, sackings and resignations there's one figure who's guaranteed to stick around, and that's Larry the Downing Street cat.
The 15-year-old tabby has been Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office since 2011, and with the resignation of Liz Truss on Thursday, he's now seen off his fourth Prime Minister, keeping us entertained with his hilarious tweets along the way.
Beloved by journalists and photographers camped outside 10 Downing Street – many of whom have bags of the best cat treats (usually Dreamies) stowed amongst their gear in the hope of a photo-opportunity – Larry's a permanent fixture, having been brought in by David Cameron to deal with a rat problem and staying on ever since. And while Prime Ministers may come and go, he's not going anywhere.
Although he was hired to deal with rodents, Larry occasionally sets his sights on bigger prey. A couple of years ago he took on an unwary pigeon, much to the delight of the assembled press corps (it's okay, the pigeon got away).
Here’s Larry the Downing Street cat (@Number10cat) catching a pigeon in front of the waiting press this morning... pic.twitter.com/1aBwNedrtfDecember 24, 2020
And just last week he got into an even more impressive altercation, when an urban fox wandered into Downing Street one evening. Cats and foxes generally tend to leave each other well alone, but Larry wasn't about to put up with a vulpine intruder on his territory, and it didn't take him very long at all to chase the interloper off.
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That's not a bad performance when you consider his age. Larry was originally adopted as a stray from Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, so nobody knows his precise age, but he's thought to be 15 years old, and there's clearly a lot of life left in him. And with yet another Prime Minister leaving Downing Street, he – or at least the anonymous figure who maintains his Twitter account – has a very clear idea of who should be next:
“The King has asked me to become Prime Minister because this nonsense has gone on long enough.” pic.twitter.com/eFL3fgSfVLOctober 20, 2022
We'd vote for him. But whoever shows up next at Number 10, it's good to know that Larry will still be around doing his thing. Need to know more about Britain's First Cat? We have all the facts in our Larry the Cat article.
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Jim is a writer, performer and cat-wrangler based in Bath, who last year adopted a pair of sibling rescue cats who turned out to be effectively feral, and has spent a lot of time since then trying to get them accustomed to people (some success) and each other (ongoing project).