Since the 1800s there has been a group of government employees who have been given free range over Whitehall, allowed to stroll into Ministers’ offices during the most sensitive of conversations. They’ve been paid out of the public purse to preen, sleep and hunt in the corridors of power.
They are the government’s cats.
The government has been unofficially ‘employing’ cats since the mid 19th century – not as a forward thinking precursor of today’s therapy dogs – 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 of news reports outside 10 Downing Street might spy the slinking figure of Larry, Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office, in the background. Continue reading »