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Task 5

Cabinet Office Chief Mouser

Larry the cat currently holds the official role of chief mouser to the Cabinet Office, a position that’s said to date back hundreds of years.

Prime Minister David Cameron was responsible for bringing Larry to Downing Street in 2011. The four-year-old cat was a rescue who came from a dogs and cats home. Though Larry was thought to have a strong hunting instinct, it wasn’t until two months into his period of office that he started showing Downing Street’s mice that he meant business. As The Guardian reported in April 2011, Larry “preferred hanging out in the corridors of power to walking in the grass” and the building’s staff was forced to train the cat “by giving him a toy mouse to play with when he failed to catch any mice for two months.” Finally, “Larry appeared through a window from the Downing Street garden with a mouse in his mouth.” Ever since Larry has continued his duties between daily cat naps.

On Larry’s first day on the job, ITV News reporter Lucy Manning paid a visit to 10 Downing Street. Such attention was a new thing for Larry at the time, and he didn’t immediately like it. Instead, he lashed out and scratched Manning on the arm four times, then hid under a table and refused to come out.

In a 2016 interview with the Sunday Times, Prime Minister Theresa May noted there were parts of Number 10 where Larry has certain seats where he expects to sit on. However, her own office chair was not one of them.

During American President Donald Trump’s June 2019 visit to 10 Downing Street, Larry – who is allowed outside – decided to hang out under Trump’s limousine (nicknamed “the Beast”) to take shelter from the rain ... and reportedly wouldn’t move, which pulled up Trump’s departure. He did eventually walk off (hopefully in search of mice). Earlier that day the cat was about to disrupt the photo session of Trump and Prime Minister Theresa May in front of 10 Downing Street.

On the whole, Larry is likely to be most interested in the ongoing territory war between him and Palmerston, the Foreign Office cat. In 2016, Palmerston, named after 19th-century Prime Minister Lord Palmerston, was hired as the Foreign & Commonwealth Office’s Chief Mouser. Like Larry, Palmerston used to be a stray. Soon after Palmerston moved in, the cats had a couple of rows, including a major one in August 2016, during which they “were at each other hammer and tongs,” according to witnesses. Larry lost his collar in the battle and messed up Palmerton’s ear as they “literally ripped fur off each other.” The territory war was so bad that police had to step in, and Larry had to be taken to a vet clinic.

Larry is now so famous that he has published his own diaries (with help from author James Robinson), has his own picture gallery and newspaper cartoon and was mentioned by David Cameron in his resignation speech. Besides, Larry has an impressive 136,000 subscribers on Twitter, has inspired a book, and now a competition for the best poem about him.


Which of the following is TRUE according to the text?

Варіанти відповідей на тест:
  • Larry received a nickname from President Trump.

  • Larry interfered with President Trump’s leaving.

  • Larry searched for mice under President Trump’s car.

  • Larry was present in a photo with President Trump.