We’re old chums with Larry the Cat here at Time Out, and so we’re sad to announce that poor old Lazza has been sacked as ‘Chief Mouser of the Cabinet’ for snoozing on the job. Word on the street is that there’s a new top cat in town and her name is Freya. She was the Osborne’s cat before going missing from their Notting Hill home three years ago. After giving up hope of finding her, the streetwise kitty returned and took her place as Larry’s Mouser partner. Along with the current residents, we’ve had a whole menagerie in government, and I’m not just talking about the politicians, so here are our top five London political pets.
There are many reasons we love Larry the current Downing Street tabby. Not least because we imagine he must have widdled in David Cameron’s loafers at some point. Curiously, despite lacking the power of speech, he has successfully negotiated a book deal for ‘Larry Diaries: Downing Street – the First 100 Days’ and somehow manages to tweet despite owning approximately zero fingers. Apparently even pets have to get a job in the Big Society.
2 Ken’s newts
When Ken Livingstone’s arch-enemy Boris Johnsonreferred to him as ‘Newt King’, he wasn’t just referring to his mercurial elusiveness. Ken is frankly obsessed with soft-bellied pond dwellers, catching his first as a wee lad in the summer of 1958. Indeed, his wedding ceremony with Emma Beal in 2009 was held at London Zoo – right next to the amphibian section.
Unlike Larry, Humphrey’s no techno-cat, but he did manage to survive in Number 10 alongside Blair, Major and Thatcher. And given Maggie’s policy on milk distribution, we’re guessing he must be one hardy bugger. Cherie Blair certainly struggled with him: one week after she and Tony took up residence in Downing Street, reports of a supposed rift between Humphrey and the PM’s wife flooded the press. Cue Cherie trying to counter the rumours with a series of sickly sweet photographs of her cuddling her fluffy rival. Poor old Humphrey.
Winston Churchill was a big cat lover. And not just because he was big. His love of moggies was so great that he surrounded himself with a veritable coterie of felines; so many, in fact, that he could probably have assembled his own cat cabinet. His favourite was a fluffy grey individual known as Nelson: named for the ferocious strategic acumen he displayed in once chasing a dog from the Admiralty.
David Blunkett’s loyal guide dog, Sadie the black Labrador, spent nine years at his side before eventually retiring last year. During their long and loving companionship, Sadie got to meet the Queen and even had a tickle behind the ears from George Bush. Unfazed by celebrity, Sadie now prefers a modest life and has turned down a number of requests for interviews. Jess West