The Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office is the title of the official resident cat of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom at 10 Downing Street. Only three cats, Humphrey, Sybil and Larry, have been given the title officially; other cats were given this title affectionately, usually by the British press. There has been a resident Treasury or Downing Street cat employed as a mouser and pet since the reign of Henry VIII, when Cardinal Wolsey placed his cat by his side while acting in his judicial capacity as Lord Chancellor, an office he assumed in 1515.
There’s a decent amount of history and political intrigue behind the position, too, so check out that Wikipedia page. After the fuzzy glow subsided, I wonder if we’d copied the idea from our former imperial masters.
Yes and no, as it turns out.
Cats were brought in to Parliament in 1924 to deal with a “mild plague of rats and mice in the basement of the then brand-new Centre Block.” The numbers of rodents soon fell, but when the unneutered cats began to multiply, they were banished to the outdoors in the same year. Cats were employed in the Parliament Building to control the rodent population until 1955 when they were replaced by chemicals.[…]
In 2013, the four remaining cats, were adopted to homes, and in January 2013, the sanctuary closed at the request of the volunteers. The structures were demolished by Public Works and Government Services Canada on January 12, 2013.
Dammit, we had something really cool going on there. Ah well.