Larry The Cat will not retire from Downing Street as reports branded as 'fake mews'

Barney Davis

Larry the Cat will not retire from his position at 10 Downing Street, with reports dismissed as "fake mews".

The 12-year-old tabby, who regularly steals the show at Downing Street press conferences, has been listed as Chief Mouser since 2011 when David Cameron's staff adopted him from Battersea Dogs and Cats home to rid the building of mice.

There were rumours that Larry was set to retire in 2020, regardless of who holds the title of Prime Minister after December’s General Election.

His future had also been called into question after Prime Minister Boris Johnson moved a five-week old puppy into the flat above Number 11 he shares with girlfriend Carrie Symonds. The Jack Russell-cross, which has been named Dilyn, was rescued after being left abandoned by puppy farmers in Wales.

But, despite approaching 65 in cat years, Larry's future at No 10 has been reassured. Independent journalist Jane Merrick tweeted: "Rumour going round that @Number10cat is being "retired" in the New Year is NOT true, insider says. "Not letting Larry go anywhere," says a source close to Larry.

Larry's unofficial Twitter responded telling his 334,000 followers: "My “retirement” is fake mews..."

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People on Twitter reacted to the initial reports of retirement. One wrote: “Many inhabitants of 10 Downing St I would like to see retire. But @Number10cat is not one of them,” Jon Gallagher added.

“If they “retire” (evict) Larry the Cat @Number10cat we riot!” another added.

And one said: “Larry cannot retire – He has been the most intelligent and honest incumbent of No 10 for years. Claws out if anyone tries to meddle with him!”

According to Larry's official description on the 10 Downing Street government page, Larry's responsibilities include spending his days greeting guests to the house, inspecting security defences and testing antique furniture for napping quality.

His day-to-day responsibilities also include contemplating a solution to the mouse occupancy of the house which is still "in tactical planning stage".

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Larry isn't the only cat living in the heart of Government. His neighbours include Palmerston, the Foreign Office cat, who was also rumoured to have retired; Gladstone, the Treasury cat; and Evie and Ossie, the Cabinet Office cats.

Several fights between Palmerston and Larry have broken out over the years, one particularly vicious scrap kicked off in 2016 resulting in Larry's collar being ripped off.