Larry holds a very important government position. Indeed, after nearly four and a half years of faithful government service, I have yet to achieve the respect and admiration Larry was shown on his first day in office. For you see, Larry was hired as the Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office, the highest ranking position a cat can hold in the British government.
Yes, this is a thing. It’s not enough for the Prime Minister and his/her family to own a pet, the pet apparently can hold an official role. It’s not a common thing though – most of the PM pets receive that title unofficially from the press. But Larry was the real deal. And before him, there was Humphrey.
Humphrey worked under the administrations of Margaret Thatcher, John Major and Tony Blair, toiling away at 10 Downing Street from October 1989 through November 1997. He took his retirement six months after the Liberals took power. When he ‘retired’ (and was handed off to an elderly couple in secret – you know, so he wouldn’t get kidnapped), a Conservative MP named Alan Clark accused Mrs. Tony Blair of having put out orders to have Humphrey murdered. The cat had to make another public appearance, just to prove he was still alive.
Just when I was in my comfort zone, mocking American public officials and the ludicrous 24-hour media for dwelling on utter ridiculousness, like who was unfaithful to whose wife or who tweeted a picture of their penis, the Brits have to up the ante.
Humphrey was replaced by Sybil, who was replaced by Larry. Larry’s time in office has been the subject of much scrutiny. Which reminds me, if you start to notice a number of typos in today’s article it’s because it’s hard to keep up when my eyes are continuously rolling at the sheer ridiculousness of this.
Larry is the first Downing Street mouser whose existence is not funded by the British taxpayers. That’s right, my English friends, you had been paying to keep a cat well-fed right up until Larry took over in early 2011. Now they feed him off contributions from Downing Street staffers.
Not long after he took office, ‘anonymous sources’ were saying that Larry lacked the killer instinct necessary for his job. Seriously? This made the news?
Larry’s first kill was a mouse in April. But by November, it was once again in the printed press that Larry wasn’t pulling his weight, that he was spending too much time sleeping and eating and hanging around Maisie, a local female cat. So Larry was slacking off, focusing on the comforts and perks of his jobs, and trying to get some… sorry, I was going to make a crude euphemistic pun involving another word for a cat, but even I won’t stoop that low.
On the first anniversary of his taking office, the Battersea Dogs & Cats Home had reported that Larry’s popularity among the British public had resulted in a 15% increase in cat adoptions. Apparently people were sending him gifts and treats every day. His actions, playing with the bunting and such, were reported as part of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations this year.
On August 28, he made his first kill in public. He dumped the mouse corpse on the front lawn at 10 Downing Street, “to garner maximum publicity.” Can I just pause at this moment to deliver a hearty screw-you to Wikipedia for reporting this as fact? I get it, it’s cute, and for cat people this is a quaint little cat-tale to make them smile. And yes, I’m a dog person coming from a cynical perspective wherein I find it physically impossible to take this stuff seriously. But come on…
Okay, let’s get through this. In September 2012 there was a cabinet shuffle, and a subsequent rumor that Larry had been fired. You see, George Osborne, Member of Parliament, the Chancellor of the Exchequer and Second Lord of the Treasury, had a rival cat at 11 Downing Street. Freya was rumored to have taken Larry’s place.
On September 26, Larry was seen in the doorway of 10 Downing Street, suggesting that the rumors of his dismissal were just that – unsubstantiated gossip. What a relief. Then in October, Freya and Larry had a violent fight, one that had to be broken up by police.
No, I’m not making this up. According to this article in the Telegraph, police were apparently called in when the two cats started battling it out on the lawn outside 10 Downing Street. Could it be that Larry is simply an antisocial dick?
Well, he did take a swipe at television reporter Lucy Manning shortly after he took office in 2011. But when he met President Obama, he got along quite well with him. Maybe he’s racist, and doesn’t like white people. Or maybe he’s a cat, and swipes at whomever he damn well feels like swiping at.
Larry has multiple twitter feeds, has inspired several websites, and also has a tell-all book. That’s right:
I’m writing a thousand words a day for free like a schnook, and Larry the goddamn cat got a book deal. Should I be less bitter about this?
Anyway, Larry is still the official mouser, but his tenure may be in jeopardy. After the epic fight (which will probably end up immortalized on some piece of British currency), it was determined that Freya was the better mouser and the more dominant feline. Some say it’s because Freya’s days as a stray – she had run away from home for an extended period before being reunited with George Osborne and his family – had hardened her.
I have no doubt that the British press will stay on top of this, and that the mouser controversy will eventually make its way into the news on this side of the Atlantic, rivaling such stories as the quarterback controversy between Tebow and Sanchez for the New York Jets. I for one will be watching my newsfeed with bated breath.
Also, I’ll be hoping for a mysterious third party to emerge, one who will knock both Freya and Larry out of the running. One who fits in perfectly among the British elite, as a symbol of the stoicism and determination the British people have been proven to admire and respect.