The Boss's Dog
The power behind the throne at No. 10 — is a cat!
I don’t care for cats, as you know, but occasionally one appeals to me as a proper cat. One that behaves like the quintessential feline — arrogant, uncompromising, dismissive and demanding.
Admittedly, it’s hard, if not painful, for a loyal hound like me to understand why people put up with cats, let alone like them — but the wisdom of age has taught me that some people, unlike The Boss, like to be dominated by their pets. And in the case of a proper cat, they have no choice.
Which brings me to Larry. Larry the Cat was brought into the revolving door of British politics back in 2011 under then Prime Minister David Cameron. The 15-year-old tabby was originally a stray that was taken in by London’s Battersea Dogs and Cats Home to become the official rat-catcher in residence.
Due to his rat-catcher reputation, he was taken in by the staff at 10 Downing St, the British equivalent of The Lodge, where there are rats galore. Because Larry is owned by staff at 10 Downing St, he has remained in his position longer than any British leader in the past 11 years.
To his credit, he has taken advantage of his position. There are videos of Larry sneaking out of No. 10 while the surrounding police are keeping the street clear, waiting for the PM to come or go — when Larry lopes across the road to monster a pigeon.
This provokes the predictable response from uninformed animal lovers who consider pigeons to be valuable or rare, or both — but Larry shrugs off any scandal, as he has in the past few weeks with the undignified defrocking of Boris, his Boss.
Larry wasted no time in exploiting this opportunity, declaring on Twitter: “I am willing to serve as caretaker Prime Minister because that’s frankly less ridiculous than the idea of Boris Johnson hanging around a minute longer.”
Larry’s Twitter handle, @Number10cat, is unverified but it sounds like Larry to me. He went on to say: “I can no longer, in good conscience, live with this Prime Minister. Either he goes, or I do.” That post from Larry has so far racked up over 44,000 retweets and is edging on 250,000 likes, which is a better response than I get — at least, in an off week.
Larry was reassuring when he told Gizmodo in an interview: “While the scandals that have led to Johnson’s downfall have been serious and often heartbreaking, that doesn’t mean that he can’t be made a figure of fun.”
He added: “Politics has been incredibly turbulent for the last few years so people cling to any sense of continuity, which a permanent resident of Downing St, in the form of a 15-year-old mouser, provides.”
Now, there’s a proper cat. Woof!