Since the 1800s there has been a group of government employees who have been given free range over Whitehall, allowed to stroll into Ministersâ offices during the most sensitive of conversations. They’ve beenÂ paid out of the public purse to preen, sleep and hunt in the corridors of power.
They are the governmentâs cats.
The government has been unofficially âemployingâ cats since the mid 19thÂ century â not as a forward thinking precursor of todayâs therapy dogs â but for the far more gruesome task of ridding Westminster of mice and rats.
The practice of government departments having cats continues today. Keen-eyed viewers ofÂ news reports outside 10 Downing Street might spy the slinking figure of Larry, Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office, in the background. Continue reading »