Palmerston proves perfect at catching Whitehall mice


As commentators keen on the travails of Governmental cats will testify, the Cabinet Office's very own chief mouser Larry may not be the best in the business when it comes to keeping on top of the local rodent population.

Often seen strolling proudly along Downing Street and laying majestically in the sunshine, the feline has become better known for his frequent appearance on journalists' social media profiles than for his intended purpose.

So step forward Palmerston, the Foreign Office (FCO) moggie, who has caught dozens of mice since his arrival on Whitehall from Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in 2016 - and that's official.

Chief Mouser for the Foreign Office Palmerston watches Larry the Downing Street Cat. (Victoria Jones/PA)
Chief Mouser for the Foreign Office Palmerston watches Larry the Downing Street Cat. (Victoria Jones/PA)

Documents released under Freedom of Information (FOI) laws show Palmerston, named after former foreign secretary and two-time prime minister Viscount Palmerston, caught at least 27 mice since arriving at his new home.

But volunteers who look after the black-and-white cat claim that figure is "likely to be much higher".

The FCO said: "The FCO does not keep an accurate figure for the amount of mice caught by Palmerston.

"The PUS's (Permanent Under-Secretary, Sir Simon McDonald) office do receive reported sightings of Palmerston catching mice - so far (since Palmerston's arrival in April 2016) this figure is at 27.

"This figure is likely to be much higher as these are only reported sightings."

Happy #InternationalCatDay to felines all over the world, and to the humans lucky enough to admire us ????

-- Palmerston the Cat (@PalmerstonFOCat) August 8, 2017

The FOI request also reveals that Palmerston is "usually" fed Whiskas, although much of his food is donated meaning he enjoys a variety of brands.

The FCO said it was unable to provide details of the cost of Palmerston's care but added the bill was met voluntarily by staff.

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