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Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office of the
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg
Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom (HM Government).svg
Larry Chief Mouser.jpg
Incumbent
Larry

since 2011
Government of the United Kingdom
Office of the Prime Minister
Reports to Cabinet
Residence 10 Downing Street
Appointer Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
Term length No set length; ends on retirement or death
Inaugural holder Cardinal Wolsey's cat
Formation c. 1515

The Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office is the official cat of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. The cat works at 10 Downing Street. Only three cats, Humphrey, Sybil and Larry, have been given the title officially. Other cats have been given this title as a nickname, usually by the British press. There has been a Downing Street cat mouser and pet since the reign of Henry VIII.

Official records about these working cats only date back to 3 June 1929. These come from the Treasury and state the cost for taking care of the cat. Now, the mouser costs 100 GBP (about $140) a year for keep.

The cats do not always belong to the Prime Minister in residence. Only rarely do they serve for exactly the same time as a Prime Minister.The cat with the longest known time at Downing Street is Wilberforce. He served for eighteen years under Edward Heath, Harold Wilson, Jim Callaghan, and Margaret Thatcher.

Incumbent

The incumbent is Larry, since 15 February 2011. The last cat Sybil, was the first mouser after a ten-year gap. She began in September 2007 and left in January 2009. Sybil was owned by the Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling, who lived in 10 Downing Street. The Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, lived in the larger 11 Downing Street. It was reported that Sybil did not like living in London. She went back to Scotland to live with a friend of the Darlings until she died.

In January 2011, rats were seen in Downing Street, "scurrying across the steps of Number 10 Downing Street for the second time during a TV news report,", as reported by Independent Television News . The Prime Minister's office first said there were "no plans" for a cat to be brought in. On 14 February 2011, it was reported that a cat named "Larry" had been brought in to get rid of the rodents. The London Evening Standard reported that the brown and white tabby cat had been chosen by David Cameron and his family, from those at Battersea Dogs & Cats Home.

In September 2012, it was reported that Prime Minister David Cameron had dismissed Larry from the post of Chief Mouser. He put in place Chancellor George Osborne's tabby cat, Freya, as the new Chief Mouser to patrol Numbers 10, 11, and 12. Some sources said the two cats would be "job sharing" to avoid any hurt feelings. In November 2014 Freya was exiled from Downing Street, again leaving Larry as the Chief Mouser.

When Theresa May became new Prime Minister in July 2016, Cabinet Office staff said that Larry would still live at Downing Street and would be Chief Mouser under the new Prime Minister. However, The Daily Telegraph says maybe Cameron does not really like Larry. During David Cameron's final Prime Minister's Questions on 13 July 2016, the Prime Minister said to the House that Larry's role as Chief Mouser was secure even after the change of premier. Cameron also showed photos that prove he loves Larry. He spoke of his "sadness" that he cannot take Larry with him.

The British government voluntarily employees and feeds 100,000 cats to keep down mice on government property. By being chosen Chief Mouser, of course, Larry (and Freya) became quite pampered cats, living in royal luxury.

Larry's sixth year in Downing Street

Larry's birthday was celebrated on 15 February 2016. A month later Larry's importance to the UK was compared favourably to a team of dolphins being trained by the Russian Navy. In April Larry's ability to be a good mouser was again questioned. So a new neighbour, Palmerston the cat, moved into the Foreign Office. Just a week later Palmerston made his first kill, a mouse.

During President Obama's April visit to the UK, Larry got much coverage in American social media and news reports.

In June 2016 it was reported that Larry is undecided about the Brexit decision. Whether he gets to keep living at 10 Downing Street, he will still get his daily dinner.

List of chief mouser cats

Name Began tenure Ended tenure Prime Minister(s) Refs
Treasury Bill 1924 Ramsay MacDonald
Peter 1929 1946 Stanley Baldwin, Ramsay MacDonald, Neville Chamberlain, Winston Churchill, Clement Attlee
Munich Mouser 1937–40 1943 Neville Chamberlain, Winston Churchill
Nelson 1940s Winston Churchill
Peter 1941–46 Winston Churchill, Clement Attlee
Peter II 1946 Clement Attlee
Peter III 1946 1964 Clement Attlee, Winston Churchill, Anthony Eden, Harold Macmillan, Alec Douglas-Home
Peta 1964 ca. 1976 Alec Douglas-Home, Harold Wilson, Edward Heath
Wilberforce 1973 1988 Edward Heath, Harold Wilson, Jim Callaghan, Margaret Thatcher
Humphrey 1989 1997 Margaret Thatcher, John Major, Tony Blair
Sybil 2007 2009 Gordon Brown
Larry 2011 current David Cameron, Theresa May
Freya 2012 2014 David Cameron
Vacant
Title last held by
Sybil
Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office
2011–present
With: Freya
2012–2014
Incumbent

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