[Merry Christmas to all. In honor of all working cats, a rerun from late September.]

Bearing the name Mouser, I am expected to be chief rodent killer at the house I rule from. I only know of mice by scholarly study; sometimes I stun, kill and play with crunchy roaches, like all cats in the South.

London is a bit cool for most bugs, but it breeds healthy rats. At the prime minister’s residence at #10 Downing Street, a cat carries an official title — Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office.

Unofficially, that title goes back centuries, and for a while Great Britain had no chief rodent-catcher. Nobody noticed, until …

A reporter did a stand-up with #10 Downing Street in the background, a cliche of British television. A few rats chose the same time to mill around on the steps of the official residence. An official spokesman said there were no plans to bring in a mouser, then turned around the next day and said there was a “pro-cat faction” at #10 Downing, driving speculation.

(Rats on live TV are a political consultant’s definition of “bad optics.”)

In 2011, Prime Minister David Cameron and his family went to a shelter and anointed Larry, a domestic shorthair. But even cats can become embroiled in politics.

The British press (idiotic, endearing and impressive at the same time) reported in 2012 that Larry had been deposed in favor of Freya, a tabby associated with George Osborne, then Chancellor of the Exchequer. Officially, the arrangement was described as job sharing.

When Freya departed in 2014, accused of bullying Osborne’s sissy dog (this is Britain, after all), Larry was returned to full command.

Larry would no sooner blog than Queen Elizabeth would, but check out his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ChiefMouserToTheCabinet

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