Palmerston began work at the British Foreign Office as its chief mouse catcher earlier this week. Palmerston is a cat. The British Foreign Office has a delightfully throwback approach to the problem of mice, like something out of the very best Tom & Jerry cartoons.
The Foreign Office released a statement on the posting, which is satisfyingly British: “Palmerston is Her Majesty’s 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.”
Chief Mouser Palmerston formerly called the Battersea Dogs and Cats shelter home. Head of Catteries Lindsey Quinlan gave the former stay high marks, stopping just short of calling him a good chap.
“If his behaviour at Battersea is anything to go by,” he said — note the British spelling of the word “behavior,” “we predict Palmerston will be a formidable feline, very deserving of his new name.”
“He’s a very confident cat, loves being with people, and enjoys a good chin rub,” he added.
In terms of lineage, Palmerston the cat is named after Palmerston the Viscount, who was foreign secretary 200 years ago and prime minister twice. That’s a pretty good lineage.
In contrast to his position with the government, Palmerston’s youth was spent on the streets. Not much is known of his early years, but he was found in poor health, dirty, and thin.
Palmerston will have company in his new 10 Downing Street lodgings, living as he is just a few yards from another mouser, this one also a cat and employed by just as esteemed a home, that of Prime Minister David Cameron. His chief mouser, Larry, has “been busy,” according to Cameron, with a “rodent infestation,” according to NDTV.
Here is a picture of Larry, from Larry’s (unofficial) Twitter:
Here’s another picture from Palmerston’s Twitter: