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Larry the Cat celebrates 12 years of dutiful service at No. 10 Downing St.

Larry the Cat is seen in front of No. 10 Downing St. on July 5, 2022. He has now been on the job as Chief Mouser at the British prime minister's official residence for a dozen years.
Leon Neal
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Larry the Cat is seen in front of No. 10 Downing St. on July 5, 2022. He has now been on the job as Chief Mouser at the British prime minister's official residence for a dozen years.

In an era of shaky political leadership, England's most dutiful public servant has reached an important milestone. Larry the Cat celebrated his 12th year as Chief Mouser for No. 10 Downing St., the residence and home office of Britain's prime minister, on Wednesday.

"It's has been a pleasure to serve you all for these last 12 years," Larry the Cat tweeted from the unofficial Twitter account for the feline. "If you're ever asked if you have a cat, but don't have the joy of one at home, know that you can answer yes; because I am yours and always will be."

Larry's enduring presence at No. 10 is in stark contrast to the five prime ministers who have taken office in the past 12 years: David Cameron, Theresa May, Boris Johnson, Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak, whose term began in October.

His length of service also eclipses those of former prime ministers Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair, Winston Churchill and Benjamin Disraeli.

The Chief Mouser's tenure began on Feb. 15, 2011, shortly after TV cameras caught footage of a rat outside the entrance of No. 10. The U.K. Cabinet, under then-Prime Minister Cameron, rescued Larry from Battersea Dogs & Cats Home and appointed him as Chief Mouser.

"Larry spends his days greeting guests to the house, inspecting security defences and testing antique furniture for napping quality," Larry's profile on the U.K. government website reads. "His day-to-day responsibilities also include contemplating a solution to the mouse occupancy of the house."

But even Larry is no stranger to controversy. A mouse sighting in 2011 called the integrity of his work into question anda visit to the vet in 2016 suggested his health could be deteriorating.

However, a video of the cat chasing a fox away from the No. 10 four months ago assuaged British citizens and signaled all was well.

As Larry cheekily tweeted back in November: "I live here permanently, politicians are temporary residents."

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Giulia Heyward
Giulia Heyward is a weekend reporter for Digital News, based out of New York. She previously covered education and other national news as a reporting fellow at The New York Times and as the national education reporter at Capital B News. She interned for POLITICO, where she covered criminal justice reform in Florida, and CNN, as a writer for the trends & culture team. Her work has also been published in The Atlantic, HuffPost and The New Republic.
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