Larry the cat celebrates 10 years at 10 Downing Street

As a scene-stealer, he’s purrfect. Larry the Downing Street Cat doesn’t only upstage prime ministers, visiting US presidents and other world leaders, but also political correspondents. As he marks 10 years at No.

10, these days Larry knows exactly where the TV cameras are and where to position himself so that he regularly appears in the nation’s living rooms in TV bulletins and at major set-piece political events.

Image: A seasoned veteran of the UK’s political scene, being held by Jon Craig

Not surprisingly, as the UK’s top A-list purrlitical celebrity, Larry has posed for photos on the 10th anniversary of his arrival at Downing Street from Battersea Dogs and Cats Home. Modesty is not Larry’s thing. He tells his 438,000 twitter followers: “Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office.

I’m a 14 year old tabby, in position longer than the leader of any UK political party.” He likes to point out that Prime Ministers come and go – he’s now on his third: David Cameron, Theresa May and Boris Johnson – but after a decade in Downing Street, he’s undisputed top cat.

Larry the cat celebrates 10 years at 10 Downing StreetImage: Larry had a feud with Palmerston, the former Foreign Office mouser

He has also seen off Palmerston, the Foreign Office cat, and Freya, the very feisty feline who belonged to the Osbornes when George was Chancellor from 2010-16.

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He’s not shy about his anniversary, either, tweeting: “I arrived in Downing Street exactly 10 years ago today.

It’s felt like my housemates have been intent on making a mess of things since then, but hopefully I’ve provided some stability. Time to get to work on the second decade!” Not surprisingly, Larry has been a regular on Sky News over the past decade.

That’s paws for thought. On one occasion, however, after political commentator Matthew d’Ancona claimed Larry was merely a public relations prop and was disliked by the Cameron family, I tried to tempt him out of No.

10 with a bowl of milk for an exclusive interview.

Larry the cat celebrates 10 years at 10 Downing StreetImage: Jon Craig unsuccessfully tries to lure Larry out of No.

10

For once, Larry was camera shy, but Freya – the Osbornes’ cat – turned up and helped herself to the milk instead.

Larry the cat celebrates 10 years at 10 Downing StreetImage: Freya, who belonged to the Osbornes, swooped in to get the milk

To dispel the beastly rumours, Mr Cameron posed for a rather awkward photo with Larry on his knee, prompting claims that he looked like Bond villain Blofeld stroking an equally villainous-looking cat.

Larry the cat celebrates 10 years at 10 Downing StreetImage: Rumours of a split in Downing Street during the coalition years were put to bed by this picture of David Cameron and his No.

10 colleague

Day or night, Larry turns up when the cameras are in Downing Street. It can be slightly off-putting when he rubs around the ankles during a live broadcast.

Larry the cat celebrates 10 years at 10 Downing StreetImage: Larry has kept reporters company on a many a long night covering the prime minister

There’s obviously something about the TV lights that tempt Larry out of the front door in the evening, as my Sky News colleague Tom Rayner discovered.

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How Larry the cat gets into Downing St

He’s not just hungry for publicity, either.

Two days after Christmas some years back, Larry stole one of my turkey sandwiches when I left them on the wall when I was urgently called upon for a live broadcast while eating my lunch.

He then furtively hid under the Christmas tree.

Larry the cat celebrates 10 years at 10 Downing StreetImage: Larry can be seen hiding underneath the Christmas tree after swiping Jon Craig’s sandwich

Mind you, when there are no turkey sandwiches carelessly left on the wall, Larry is happy to fetch himself some pigeon pie.

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Number 10’s chief mouser Larry scuffles with pigeon

Ever vigilant and ever present.

As Larry himself says, here’s to the next decade!

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