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 governmentâ€™s cats.
The government has been unofficially â€˜employingâ€™ cats since the mid 19thÂ century â€“ not as a forward thinking precursor of todayâ€™s 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 »