In this Thursday, May 21, 2020 file photo, Larry, the official 10 Downing Street cat walks outside 10 Downing Street before the nationwide Clap for Carers to recognise and support National Health Service (NHS) workers and carers fighting the coronavirus pandemic, in London. Monday, Feb. 15, 2021 marks the 10th anniversary of rescue cat Larry becoming Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office in a bid to deal with a rat problem at 10 Downing Street.
The tabby-and-white cat arrived at 10 Downing Street on February 15, 2011, at the age of four.
He was adopted from London’s Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, an animal shelter, and was chosen for his mousing skills, according to his biography on the Downing Street website.
He received the title of Chief Mouser — the first inhabitant of the prime minister’s famous residence and office to do so.
But while he did catch three mice in his early months, according to David Cameron, his first prime minister, he has since disappointed, leaving the role in the “tactical planning stage”.
Larry’s soft-power diplomacy has “captured the hearts of the Great British public,” according to Downing Street.
That includes building up a rapport with the journalists, photographers and camera crews stationed outside, who reward him with strokes and snacks.
When Cameron left Downing Street in 2016 after the British public backed the vote “Leave” campaign, Larry steadfastly stayed on.
The tomcat was a sentimental topic of conversation in Cameron’s final appearance in Parliament as prime minister when he said he wanted to quash a rumor that — perish the thought — he didn’t like Larry.
And just to prove it, he whipped out evidence: a picture of Larry lying on his lap.
“He belongs to the house and the staffs love him very much — as do I,” he said at the time, explaining why he wasn’t taking Larry with him after leaving office.
Reports of his rodent-killing abilities vary. Larry became known for his occasional scraps with neighboring cats – especially Palmerston, chief mouser to the Foreign Office across the street – and fondness for sleep. Palmerston has retired to the country, so things have been a bit quieter of late.
These days Larry, now 14, is often seen by photographers patrolling his turf. Visitors to the building can sometimes find him napping on a ledge above a radiator or sleeping on a floor, where dignitaries occasionally have to step over him.
While maintaining a dignified silence in public, Larry has told his story in a book called “The Larry Diaries” by journalist James Robinson.
He also has an unofficial Twitter account, @Number10cat, with more than 433,000 followers.
Contacted via social media, the account’s author insisted there is no human intervention and gave a brief insight into Larry’s long rule at Downing Street.
“The key thing to remember is that I live here permanently, the politicians just lodge with me for a bit until they’re fired,” he said.
“They all work out sooner or later that it’s me that runs the place.”
At the heart of government, he specializes in power naps.