Palmerston the Foreign Office cat to retire from public life


Palmerston, the Foreign Office's chief mouser, is set for retirement after four years of service in Whitehall.

A letter to Sir Simon McDonald, permanent under-secretary at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, read that the cat would like to spend more time "away from the limelight" after enjoying "working from home" during the coronavirus pandemic.

"I have found life away from the front line relaxed, quieter, and easier," the letter signed in Palmerston's name read.

Palmerston, a rescue cat from Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, was brought to the Foreign Office in 2016, prompting reports of a rivalry with Downing Street cat Larry.

"My 105,000 twitter followers show that even those with four legs and fur have an important part to play in the UK's global effort," Palmerston's letter said.

"I have championed our work, built our relationships, and celebrated the diversity of our staff."

Palmerston will not be completely retreating from public life, however, with the letter stating that he will "always be an ambassador for the UK and the new Foreign, Commonwealth and Development office".

Sir McDonald replied to the letter on Twitter, stating that everyone at the Foreign office will "miss him".

"In 2016 Palmerston arrived from Battersea, mouser and social media phenomenon," he said.

General Election 2017 aftermath
General Election 2017 aftermath

"After four-and-a-half happy years, he retires at end of August: he's enjoyed lockdown life in countryside so much, he's decided to stay."

Foreign Office staff paid tribute to the outgoing mouser, with Jon Benjamin, director of the department's Diplomatic Academy, wishing him a "very happy retirement".

"He left us a slightly chewed dead mouse next to my desk in @UKDipAcademy
once, and we were of course not very grateful," he added.

Caron Rohsler, British high commissioner to the Maldives, tweeted a goodbye message from her embassy's own diplomatic feline, Miska.

It read: "Congratulations on your exemplary service to British foreign affairs, & for fur-thering the cause of diversity in our noble institution. I'm sure an elevation to the pawrage cannot be far off."