Downing Street’s famous pets from Larry the Cat to Rishi Sunak’s dog Nova

Larry the cat has lived at Downing Street since 2011  (AFP via Getty Images)
Larry the cat has lived at Downing Street since 2011 (AFP via Getty Images)

As the new Prime Minister Rishi Sunak makes 10 Downing Street his new dwelling, a furry friend will be joining him and his family in their new residence.

Nova, the fox red Labrador retriever, first made her appearance at Downing Street in June 2021 when the then Chancellor Mr Sunak introduced her to the world via a tweet.

“Meet Nova,” read the caption alongside the adorable picture of the then pup.

As Nova settles into her new surroundings, what other pets have called Downing Street their home over the years?

The pets of Downing Street

Before the Sunaks, Boris Johnson and his wife Carrie’s rescue dog Dilyn, the Jack Russell cross, called Downing Street home.

Dilyn was abandoned with a misaligned jaw but was rescued by the animal charity Friends of Animals Wales before being adopted.

After the rescue, Ms Johnson tweeted: “Thanks to the wonderful Eileen who rescued Dilyn after she got a tip-off that he was to be dumped by a puppy dealer because he was born with a crooked jaw.

“Eileen fixed his little jaw and saved his life. She is a hero.”

Dilyn’s many appearances alongside Mr Johnson during his 2019 election campaign trail were said to cause a surge in demands for Jack Russells. This became known as the “Boris Bounce”.

The former chancellor, George Osbourne, and his family brought Freya the tabby cat to Downing Street. Meanwhile, Sybil the cat joined another former chancellor, Alistair Darling, and his family in Westminster.

One of the most famous pets to have lived at Downing Street was Sir Winston Churchill’s beloved cat, Nelson.

Named after the famous sailor Horatio Nelson, Mr Churchill first fell in love with the feline after seeing her bravely chase a dog down the road near the Admiralty buildings in London.

Nelson served as Chief Mouser during the wartime coalition government, while the Munich Mouser served under both Winston Churchill and Neville Chamberlain.

The name was coined by Mr Churchill in reference to the famous Munich Agreement signed in 1938. This pact helped to avert another war.

But the most famous pet of Downing Street has to be the beloved Larry the Cat. He has been the Chief Mouser of Downing Street since February 2011.

Larry was rescued after being found as a stray, swapping Battersea Dogs and Cats home for his current Westminster address.