London, Feb 16 (IANS) The British prime minister’s official residence, 10 Downing Street, has recruited its latest pet – a “rat-catching” cat.
The cat – named Larry from the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home – was taken after rodents were spotted on live television, scuttling past the door of the residence twice last month, The Sun reported.
The cat is said to have a “strong predatory drive” and enjoys playing with toy mice.
A Downing Street spokesman said: “Before coming to Battersea, he was a stray, so he is used to fending for himself on the streets. Nothing is ever guaranteed but his behaviour in Battersea convinced staff that he was up for the job.”
It is the first such “official appointment” since stalwart rat-catcher Humphrey retired in 1997, shortly after Tony Blair arrived in Downing Street.
Humphrey was succeeded for a short period by Sybil, the pet of then-chancellor Alistair Darling, in 2007 – but it failed to settle down and was sent to Scotland.