How a stray cat became a beloved figure in British politics
A now-infamous photobomb was the latest attention-grabbing antic of a famous feline that occasionally steals the show at the home of the British prime minister.
As Prime Minister Theresa May, U.S. President Donald Trump and their spouses met outside 10 Downing Street last week, photographers’ attention was drawn to Larry the cat watching on with apparent interest from the closest window ledge.
Later the same day, Larry caused a security delay by walking underneath Trump’s limo. The armoured vehicle was unable to move while Larry was under it, for fear it would strike or injure the cat.
Larry has periodically emerged to hog headlines and add a measure of levity to the diplomatic proceedings around 10 Downing Street since 2011, when the then-stray ably dealt with a rat that was spotted in front of the building during a live broadcast.
The cat was then taken in and installed as a permanent resident of the building that serves as the office and residence of the prime minister.
Then-prime minister David Cameron paid tribute to Larry in Parliament in 2016, shortly before his departure from the country’s highest political office.
“Sadly I can’t take Larry with me – he belongs to the house and the staff love him very much, as do I,” he said.
Larry will soon serve his third prime minister, as he is expected to remain at 10 Downing Street after a new Conservative leader is selected to replace May.
He has been given the official title of “Chief Mouser,” a position to which several cats have been appointed in the past.
According to Larry’s official biography, Chief Mouser responsibilities include “greeting guests to the house, inspecting security defenses and testing antique furniture for napping quality.” He enjoys the privilege of unfettered access to Number 10 before, during and after official remarks on the steps of the residence.
Sometimes, though, that privilege can be revoked. Since Larry is known to steal the show, the cat was not permitted to leave the residence while May announced her resignation last month.