After a whirlwind week, new PM Theresa May can look forward to having a bundle of fur curled up on her lap in the form of Larry, the Downing Street Cat.
It’s been confirmed that Larry will be staying at Number 10 when Mrs May moves in this week, and will retain his role as ‘Chief Mouser’.
Larry, who is the latest in a long line of distinguished Whitehall cats, was brought to No 10 from Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in 2011.
Here are five things ‘Larry the Downing Street cat’ should expect upon Mrs May’s arrival:
As Downing Street is Larry’s territory, Mrs May will need to tread carefully in the first couple of weeks and months. Larry will set a good example for Mrs May’s new Cabinet and potentially bitter Conservative colleagues. She may think that Larry is Conservative, but he couldn’t possibly comment.
While cats can be left to entertain themselves more easily than say dogs, Larry will expect that Mrs May does not spend too much time across the country or abroad; cats require love and playtime too. Larry may be keen to remind Mrs May that Brexit may have implications for pet passports, so this will need to be a red line in the negotiations in Brussels.
3. Day-to-day politics:
While Larry is likely to listen to the likes of the World at One or walk into ministerial meetings or sackings, believe it or not, cats aren’t particularly interested in Westminster politics except, of course, the fisheries policy. Mrs May should therefore leave her red briefcase downstairs when she comes to see Larry at the end of the day.
4. Food and drink:
The beer and sandwich of the 1970s or the champagne supernova days of New Labour may be remnants of the past; but Larry will expect quality food to keep him happy and healthy if he’s going to keep Number 10’s mice and rebels under control.
All that hot air from Whitehall can make everyone a little tired. Mrs Thatcher may have only needed four hours’ kip a night, but cats tend to doze on and off for up to 16 hours a day. Larry may remind Mrs May that after this upheaval, he won’t be welcoming of any future General Elections any time soon.
Andrew Bucher, co-founder and Chief Veterinary Officer at MedicAnimal, commented:
“Cats are exceptionally territorial animals and Mrs May will need to be aware she will have to toe the line to make sure Larry continues to feel at home. Like most pets, Larry will expect Mrs May to take time out of her busy diary to provide play, provide a balanced diet and naturally loyalty.”