The newest edition to Britain’s diplomatic staff doesn’t have much experience with the subtle nuances of foreign affairs, but he can chase down a rat with the best of them.
The British Foreign Office has officially appointed Palmerston, a 2-year-old, short haired cat as Chief Mouser to help keep their offices free from the rodents of unusual size that are plaguing Britain this year.
The black and white cat started life as a stray on the streets of London before being swooped up by the rescue organization Battersea Dogs and Cats Home. When volunteers found the cat, he was hungry, underweight and had no microchip to help find his owners.
Later he was recruited to become Chief Mouser and given the official duty of keeping the government grounds free from mice, rats, and other pests, according to the Daily Mail.
“Palmerston is HM Diplomatic Service’s newest arrival and in the role of FCO chief mouser will assist our pest controllers in keeping down the number of mice in our King Charles Street building.”
He will be based in Sir Simon McDonald’s office, the most senior official at the British Foreign Office.
Palmerston the cat was named after former foreign secretary and Prime Minister Viscount Palmerston who died in 1865 at the age of 80 while still in office, supposedly after having relations with a chamber maid on a pool table, reports NDTV.
“He’s a very confident cat, loves being with people, and enjoys a good chin rub. If his behavior at Battersea is anything to go by, we predict Palmerston will be a formidable feline, very deserving of his new name.”
The new Head Mouser joins fellow rescue cat Larry in keeping British government buildings free from vermin, but hopefully he’ll do a better job.
The Cameron family recruited Larry, a brown and white tabby, to keep Downing Street rodent free in 2011, but the lucky feline has often been seen napping on the job and it took him a year to make his first kill. Larry even has his own Twitter account with 47,500 followers, and he got to meet President Barack Obama.
Chancellor George Osborne once kept a cat named Freya around to keep the mice down, but she had a tendency to run straight to her favorite pub, across four lanes of traffic. She famously spent the night on a nearby houseboat before being struck by a car in 2014. She survived the accident, but was moved to the countryside to recover mere months after the Osborne family adopted a new dog named Lola.
Members of the British Parliament haven’t been so lucky as their request for an official feline to keep mice away was denied by authorities who fear someone could be allergic to them.
The Chief Mouser and his compatriots might come in handy this summer as the U.K. fights off hordes of two-foot long rodents immune to poisons and pesticides that will outnumber humans by three-to-one during summer.
The massive rodent infestation in the country is the result of a wet and warm winter that allowed the vermin to breed in record numbers. The British Parliament spent more than $140,000 in 16 months to clear the rodents from the government building area of London, Parliament spokesman John Thurso told The Sun.
“Having a herd of cats on the Parliamentary estate would present a number of difficulties.”
[Photo by Ki Price/WPA-Pool/Getty Images]