'Chief Mouser' Larry The Cat Has Now Outlasted 4 UK Prime Ministers

Larry the Cat has been a beacon of stability — though not without his own controversies.

Meow that’s a long time in office.

Larry the Cat has now held his position as “chief mouser” to the U.K. Cabinet Office through the terms of four prime ministers, NPR noted Friday.

The 15-year-old feline is tasked with keeping the rodent population in check at No. 10 Downing St., a London building that serves as both the residence and office of the head of government.

Larry the Cat at No. 10 Downing St., lying in front of a flower display commemorating Ukrainian Independence Day on Aug. 24.
Larry the Cat at No. 10 Downing St., lying in front of a flower display commemorating Ukrainian Independence Day on Aug. 24.
Susannah Ireland / AFP via Getty

After being adopted from an animal shelter, Larry took up the mouser role in 2011 under then-Prime Minister David Cameron. He has remained in residence at No. 10 through the tenures of Theresa May, Boris Johnson and Liz Truss, who resigned Thursday after just six weeks in office.

Larry sits in the window with his back turned to Prime Minister Liz Truss in September.
Larry sits in the window with his back turned to Prime Minister Liz Truss in September.
AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth

When Cameron stepped down in 2016, a government spokesperson told the BBC that Larry would remain because he was a “civil servant’s cat and does not belong to the Camerons.” Nevertheless, Cameron faced some backlash for leaving him behind.

Larry has gained international fame, helped along by popular unofficial Twitter account @Number10cat.

In 2019, he had a viral moment after refusing to move from beneath the car of then-U.S. President Donald Trump during a state visit.

But while Larry has been a beacon of stability, he has faced criticism for poor job performance and repeatedly clashed with other government cats.

In 2012, Larry was spotted completely ignoring a mouse in Cameron’s study, according to Canada’s CBC News. Though there were some reports that Larry was to be fired as chief mouser, he ended up sharing duties with a tabby named Freya who belonged to then-Chancellor George Osborne. Larry and Freya had a rocky relationship and once fought so viciously that police intervened to break up the tussle.

Freya, Larry's temporary co-mouser, in 2014.
Freya, Larry's temporary co-mouser, in 2014.
Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

In 2014, Freya was hit by a car near the Ministry of Defense. She recovered but left Downing Street for a quieter life residing with one of Osborne’s staff members.

Larry subsequently had a violent rivalry with Palmerston, who was appointed as chief mouser of the neighboring Foreign & Commonwealth Office in 2016.

Palmerston, Larry's archrival.
Palmerston, Larry's archrival.
Dinendra Haria/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

After a particularly brutal fight in which Larry injured Palmerston’s ear but lost his own collar in the fray, a photographer who captured the dust-up told The Telegraph he feared the cats would kill each other. However, Palmerston retired from his post in 2020 ― once again leaving Larry as the last cat standing.

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