Larry the cat’s tussle with pigeon on Downing Street adds to Brexit drama

Luke Powell, PA
·2-min read

As the nation awaited an update on the post-Brexit trade deal, it was Downing Street’s Larry the cat who grabbed the attention of politics watchers as he pounced on a pigeon.

The tabby stalked the bird outside the Prime Minister’s official residence on Thursday as members of the Press – who were waiting to hear from Boris Johnson – watched on with their cameras poised.

Despite Larry catching his unsuspecting victim, the pigeon managed to fly off seemingly unharmed after a brief scuffle.

The drama came as the Government continued to negotiate on a UK-European Union trade deal amid widespread expectation that an agreement is imminent.

Officially known as the chief mouser, Larry was rehomed from Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in 2011, and was said to have a “strong predatory drive”.

Former Conservative prime minister David Cameron expressed his fondness for the animal, saying he would make a “great addition” to the Number 10 team at the time.

Speaking at his final Prime Minister’s Questions as Tory leader in 2016, Mr Cameron told the Commons: “Sadly I can’t take Larry with me, he belongs to the house and the staff love him very much – as do I.”

Larry pounced on his victim
Larry pounced on his victim (Luke Powell/PA)

Larry was less popular with rival feline Palmerston, who lived at the Foreign Office across the street until he was retired.

Before being cared for at Battersea, Larry was a stray and was used to “fending for himself on the streets”, a Downing Street spokesman previously said.

Larry was the first cat to hold the rat-catching portfolio since stalwart ratter Humphrey was retired in 1997.

Humphrey was succeeded for a short period by Sybil, the pet of then chancellor Alistair Darling, in 2007 – but the mouser failed to settle and returned to Scotland.