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Foreign Office cat keeps reputation for catching Whitehall mice intact

Chief mouser’ Palmerston (Nick Ansell/PA) Photo: PA Wire/PA Images

When it comes to keeping on top of the local rodent population, one might expect a fair job from a pet cat in a government department.

So when a Freedom of Information (FOI) request sought to assess the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s (FCO) chief mouser, Palmerston’s performance did not disappoint.

Documents released under FOI show Palmerston has caught 38 mice since January 1 2017, and four since the beginning of this year.

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Named after former foreign secretary and two-time prime minister Viscount Palmerston, the cat arrived at Whitehall from Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in April 2016.

A previous FOI request revealed in September 2017 that the cat had caught at least 27 mice since arriving at his new home.

The FCO said: “The FCO does not keep an accurate figure for the amount of mice caught by Palmerston.

“The PUS’s (Permanent Under Secretary’s) office do receive reported sightings of Palmerston catching mice, but figures are likely to be much higher as these are only reported sightings.”

Documents also said that Palmerston is “usually” fed Whiskas, but much of his food is donated meaning that he enjoys a variety of brands.

The documents also stated that Palmerston’s care was funded voluntarily by staff and the FCO did not keep a record of that.