Palmerston gets his claws in as Foreign Office 'chief mouser'


The Foreign Office is getting its own cat to help keep the rats, mice and other pests in Whitehall at bay.

Recruited from Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, the moggy, named Palmerston, will join the government department with the title of "chief mouser".

The cat is apparently named after Viscount Palmerston, who was foreign secretary almost 200 years ago before twice serving as prime minister.

A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokeswoman said: "Palmerston is HM Diplomatic Service's newest arrival and in the role of FCO chief mouser will assist our pest controllers in keeping down the number of mice in our King Charles Street building.

"Palmerston's domestic posting will have zero cost to the public purse as a staff kitty will be used to pay for him and all aspects of his welfare.

"We have worked closely with Battersea Dogs and Cats Home on Palmerston's deployment and they have inspected his new home, as they do for all potential new owners of their rescue cats."

Palmerston will be in good company in Whitehall, living just yards away from Larry, David Cameron's cat in Downing Street.

It is hoped Palmerston will fare better than Chancellor George Osborne's previous cat, Freya, who moved into 11 Downing Street with the family in 2010.

She went missing in May 2014, turning up lost and frightened in Vauxhall a mile and a half away, before having to be taken to a vet three months later when she was knocked down by a car on Whitehall.

To add insult to injury, the Chancellor reportedly decided she was becoming too much of a liability and sent her to live in the Kent countryside - just months after the Osborne family fell in love with a new pet, a Bichon Frise dog named Lola.