Larry the cat, the mouser in chief at the prime minister’s residence in the U.K., has been injured, but has been taken to the vet for treatment and is expected to make a full recovery.
Larry was brought on to No. 10 Downing St. in 2011, to help with a stubborn mouse problem.
The former stray never did have much success catching mice, but he successfully caught the heart of a nation. When David Cameron stepped down after the Brexit vote, Larry remained. (We have much, much more of his story in our recent profile of him.)
On Wednesday, Larry was seen with an apparent injury to his front right paw.
“Poor old LARRY limping very badly,” a photojournalist tweeted, noting the cat was holding his paw off the ground. He wondered, “has the fox or FO cat got the better[?] needs a vet badly.”
The two government-employed felines have been witnessed facing off before, leading many British journalists to point their fingers at Palmerston.
The rivals were recorded having several tense interactions just over a week ago.
And Larry has been known to get into catfights before — and lose. He went home roughed up after encounters with his former neighbor Freya, as we’ve reported.
After the limp was noticed, Larry was taken to the vet for treatment. He did not require surgery, the BBC reports, in a dispatch that hints at the trials and tribulations of life as a No. 10 Downing St. spokesman:
“The prime minister’s official spokesman said Larry was ‘expected to make a full recovery’.
“Asked who would pay the bill, the spokesman said he did not know as it had not yet been received.
“Pressed on whether it would be paid from ‘the kitty’, the spokesman said only: ‘Oh dear.’
“Asked whether this followed a fight with Palmerston the Foreign Office cat, the spokesman said he would have to refer the question to ‘higher authorities’.”
Larry’s injuries came up as a topic of conversation on the floor of the House of Commons on Thursday.
The BBC says member of Parliament Ann Clwyd said Larry looked to be in a “very sorry situation” with his limp, and she appeared to suggest the wound might somehow be psychosomatic.
“Is it because he’s missing the old prime minister and does the new prime minister care for the welfare of cats as much as the old prime minister?” she asked, according to the news service.
You might remember that Cameron was, in fact, accused of being coldhearted toward Larry and had to fight rumors that they didn’t get along. It looks as though new Prime Minister Theresa May will face a similar challenge.
David Lidington, leader of the House of Commons, attested to May’s “good intentions towards Larry the cat,” and said: “I saw some reports in the media that [Larry] had been involved in a fracas with the Foreign Office cat. I hope that they have now established a modus vivendi.”