The Chief Mouser

Larry the cat, Downing Street’s Chief Mouser. (Photo: British Government / Open Government v1.0)

After his resignation, the British Prime Minister leaves Number 10 Downing Street this week. The house cat Larry, however, will stay on in his role as the Chief Mouser at the prime minister’s official residence.

The cat recently has become somewhat of a celebrity after a series of headline-grabbing stunts.

But according to an official U.K. government website, Larry has a variety of official duties, mainly having to do with rodent control. 

“Larry spends his days greeting guests to the house, inspecting security defenses and testing antique furniture for napping quality,” the website says. “His day-to-day responsibilities also include contemplating a solution to the mouse occupancy of the house. Larry says this is still ‘in tactical planning stage.”

Here are six other pertinent facts about the cat of the moment: 

The Prime Minister chose Larry because of his reputation as a fierce rat catcher

David Cameron adopted Larry in February 2011 from a rescue home for cats and dogs to deal with an infestation of rats. The 4-year-old tabby was known as a “good ratter” and Downing Street officials told the BBC Larry had “a high chase-drive and hunting instinct.” Larry later became the first cat to hold the official title of Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office.

Larry is expert at maintaining the special relationship

David Cameron introduced Larry the cat to Barack Obama when the U.S. president visited Number 10 in June, 2011. The U.K. Prime Minster told the BBC that Larry, who is famously unfriendly towards men, got on well with Mr. Obama.

Barack Obama meets Larry the cat

Larry meets Barack Obama. (Photo: Pete Souza / Public Domain)

Larry once attacked a television reporter live on air

Larry the cat fulfilled Downing Street’s need to show the press its place, when the frosty feline left TV journalist Lucy Manning with a scratch up her arm. The reporter had attempted to record a segment from Downing Street with Larry on her lap. He was having none of it.

Larry tried to photo bomb Kevin Spacey

Before David Cameron presented an award to Kevin Spacey for the American actor’s contribution to British theater, officials had to remove Larry in his bid to steal the limelight after he had wandered right in front of photographers.

Larry’s laziness made the Prime Minister throw a silver fork at a mouse

Prime Minister David Cameron threw a silver fork at a mouse which had wandered into a meeting between the PM and other members of his government. Larry, at the time, faced intense criticism for his inability to catch rodents. The cat, according the Daily Mail, prefers to sleep.

Larry had a face-off with a spaniel on the doorstep of Number 10 and won

In the run up to the 2015 general election Larry developed a rivalry with a sniffer dog named Bailey. A photographer captured the moment when this came to a head as Larry, defending the doorstep, showed Bailey his teeth and the dog ran off. Larry is regularly seen patrolling outside Number 10.