Larry the cat: Who does Downing Street’s most famous resident belong to?

Larry the cat: Who does Downing Street’s most famous resident belong to?

Larry did his normal rounds yesterday morning as Britain prepared for the election (Picture: EPA)

With Downing Street likely to see a new Prime Minister soon, questions about one of its most famous residents have been raised.

The political world’s favourite feline, Larry the Cat, has lived in Downing Street for over a decade after being adopted during David Cameron’s time as PM.

Born as a stray in 2007 – making him 17 years-old – Larry was adopted in 2011 by Downing Street Staff – initially as a pet for Cameron’s kids – Larry quickly became one of the most beloved creatures in Downing Street.

But questions have been raised about Larry’s ownership as Downing Street faces major changes in the coming days.

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Who owns Larry the cat?

Larry wore a Union Jack bowtie for the Downing Street street party in 2011 (Picture: PA)

Officially, Larry is owned by Downing Street staff – all of whom take care of him.

No one individual is responsible for No10’s head mouse catcher, who turned 17 in January.

David Cameron explained during his final Prime Minister’s Questions in 2016 that Larry is a civil servant and not personal property, therefore he does not leave Downing Street after a change of premiership.

What is Larry’s job title?

Larry takes his job very seriously – seen here with fruits of his labour in 2023 (Picture: PA)

The title of Chief Mouser is currently held by Larry, having first been given the title in 2011.

After being adopted from the Battersea Dogs & Cats Home by Number 10 staff, Larry was put to work.

The Downing Street website describes Larry’s duties as ‘greeting guests to the house, inspecting security defences, and testing antique furniture for napping quality.’

He has been Chief Mouser for five Prime Ministers: David Cameron, Theresa May, Boris Johnson, Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak. It’s no wonder questions have been raised about his ownership.

Job performance issues

Does Larry take his job seriously enough? (Picture: PA)

Larry’s job performance has come under some scrutiny in the past. Within a month of his arrival at Downing Street, anonymous sources told The Daily Telegraph that Larry displayed ‘a distinct lack of killer instinct.’

That being said, he was seen nearly taking out a pigeon in 2020 and has brought back dead mice in front of reporters in years following.

Larry’s relationship with other animals around Downing Street has also been a point of concern in the past.

He has gotten into many scuffles with the Foreign Office’s cat Palmerston, with Larry even having to pay a visit to the Vet after a particularly violent scrap back in 2016.

Pigeons are no match for Britain’s chief mouser (Picture: EPA)

Palmerston has now retired to the countryside, meaning the pair can no longer scrap in front of the world’s media. When Palmerston retired, the BBC reported that his ‘decidedly undiplomatic disputes [with Larry] are not thought to have hastened his departure’.

Larry’s relationships with visiting politicians have also been a bit of a mixed bag, with Larry causing a stir during one of President Donald Trump’s visits to Downing Street.

Larry decided to have a lie down under Trump’s £1.2million armoured Cadillac, meaning that the former US President couldn’t leave after a meeting with Theresa May.

Larry caused some diplomatic tensions when he got under Trump’s car during one visit (Picture: Daniel Leal/AFP via Getty Images)

David Cameron did say, however, that Larry seemed quite taken with Trump’s predecessor.

‘Funnily enough, he liked Barack Obama’ the former PM told the BBC back in 2011. ‘Obama gave him a stroke and he was all right with Obama.’

But overall, Larry doesn’t like men.

David Cameron previously mentioned Larry is a ‘bit nervous’ around men – which could be due to his past as a stray.

Larry is a fierce character, and previously came to blows with Rishi Sunak’s Labrador Retriever, Nova. Larry (of course) won.

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