Larry the cat’s tussle with pigeon on Downing Street adds to Brexit drama

As the nation awaited an update on the post-Brexit trade deal, it was Downing Street's Larry the cat who grabbed the attention of politics watchers as he pounced on a pigeon.

The tabby stalked the bird outside the Prime Minister's official residence on Thursday as members of the Press – who were waiting to hear from Boris Johnson – watched on with their cameras poised.

Despite Larry catching his unsuspecting victim, the pigeon managed to fly off seemingly unharmed after a brief scuffle.

Larry pounced on his victim
Larry pounced on his victim (Luke Powell/PA)

The drama came as the Government continued to negotiate on a UK-European Union trade deal amid widespread expectation that an agreement is imminent.

Officially known as the chief mouser, Larry was rehomed from Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in 2011, and was said to have a "strong predatory drive".

Former Conservative prime minister David Cameron expressed his fondness for the animal, saying he would make a "great addition" to the Number 10 team at the time.

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UK and EU reach agreement on post-Brexit trade deal
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - DECEMBER 24: (----EDITORIAL USE ONLY MANDATORY CREDIT - "PIPPA FOWLES / No10 DOWNING STREET / HANDOUT" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS----) British Prime Minister Boris Johnson calls President of European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen via video link from the Cabinet room, in London, United Kingdom on December 24, 2020. (Photo by Pippa Fowles/No10 Downing Street/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - DECEMBER 24: (----EDITORIAL USE ONLY MANDATORY CREDIT - "ANDREW PARSONS / No10 DOWNING STREET / HANDOUT" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS----) British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks to President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen via video link from the Cabinet room after completing the Brexit deal, in London, United Kingdom on December 24, 2020. (Photo by Andrew Parsons/No10 Downing Street/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 24: Prime Minister, Boris Johnson holds a press conference on reaching a Brexit trade deal in Downing Street on December 24, 2020 in London, England. Four and a half years after British voters elected to leave the EU, and mere days before the latest and presumably final deadline, UK and EU leaders have announced a trade deal defining the terms of the breakup. (Photo by Paul Grover - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 24: Prime Minister, Boris Johnson holds a press conference on reaching a Brexit trade deal in Downing Street on December 24, 2020 in London, England. Four and a half years after British voters elected to leave the EU, and mere days before the latest and presumably final deadline, UK and EU leaders have announced a trade deal defining the terms of the breakup. (Photo by Paul Grover - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
The media gathered outside 10 Downing Street, London, ahead of a briefing from Prime Minister Boris Johnson the agreement of a post-Brexit trade deal.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen prepares to address a media conference on Brexit negotiations at the EU headquarters in Brussels, on December 24, 2020. - Britain said on December 24, 2020, an agreement had been secured on the country's future relationship with the European Union, after last-gasp talks just days before a cliff-edge deadline. (Photo by Francisco Seco / POOL / AFP) (Photo by FRANCISCO SECO/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen addresses a media conference on Brexit negotiations at EU headquarters in Brussels, Thursday, Dec. 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco, Pool)
Larry the cat, Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office catches a pigeon as journalists await results of the Brexit trade deal in Downing Street in London, Thursday, Dec. 24, 2020. European Union and British negotiators are closing in on a trade deal with only a disagreement over fishing remaining, After resolving a few remaining fair competition issues, negotiators were dealing with EU fisheries rights in U.K. waters Wednesday as they worked to secure a deal for a post-Brexit relationship after nine months of talks. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
Larry the cat, Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office catches a pigeon as journalists await results of the Brexit trade deal in Downing Street in London, Thursday, Dec. 24, 2020. European Union and British negotiators are closing in on a trade deal with only a disagreement over fishing remaining, After resolving a few remaining fair competition issues, negotiators were dealing with EU fisheries rights in U.K. waters Wednesday as they worked to secure a deal for a post-Brexit relationship after nine months of talks. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
Journalists put their heads together in Downing Street in London, Thursday, Dec. 24, 2020. Britain and the European Union have struck a provisional free-trade agreement that should avert New Year chaos for cross-border traders and bring a measure of certainty for businesses after years of Brexit turmoil. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
Journalists report in Downing Street in London, Thursday, Dec. 24, 2020. Britain and the European Union have struck a provisional free-trade agreement that should avert New Year chaos for cross-border traders and bring a measure of certainty for businesses after years of Brexit turmoil. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, right, and European Commission's Head of Task Force for Relations with the United Kingdom Michel Barnier address a media conference on Brexit negotiations at EU headquarters in Brussels, Thursday, Dec. 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco, Pool)
Police speak to anti-Brexit protestor Steve Bray, at the gates of Downing Street, London, Thursday, Dec. 24, 2020. Negotiators from the European Union and Britain worked through the night and into Christmas Eve to put the finishing touches on a trade deal that should avert a chaotic economic break between the two sides next week. Trade will change regardless come Jan. 1, when the U.K. leaves the bloc’s single market and customs union. (Victoria Jones/PA via AP)
The media gathered outside 10 Downing Street, London, ahead of a briefing from Prime Minister Boris Johnson the agreement of a post-Brexit trade deal.
LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 24: Prime Minister, Boris Johnson holds a press conference on reaching a Brexit trade deal in Downing Street on December 24, 2020 in London, England. Four and a half years after British voters elected to leave the EU, and mere days before the latest and presumably final deadline, UK and EU leaders have announced a trade deal defining the terms of the breakup. (Photo by Paul Grover - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson arrives for a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on the agreement of a post-Brexit trade deal.
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Speaking at his final Prime Minister's Questions as Tory leader in 2016, Mr Cameron told the Commons: "Sadly I can't take Larry with me, he belongs to the house and the staff love him very much – as do I."

Larry was less popular with rival feline Palmerston, who lived at the Foreign Office across the street until he was retired.

Before being cared for at Battersea, Larry was a stray and was used to "fending for himself on the streets", a Downing Street spokesman previously said.

Larry was the first cat to hold the rat-catching portfolio since stalwart ratter Humphrey was retired in 1997.

Humphrey was succeeded for a short period by Sybil, the pet of then chancellor Alistair Darling, in 2007 – but the mouser failed to settle and returned to Scotland.

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