UPDATE (10/20/22): This story has been updated to reflect the resignation of Liz Truss 45 days after she first became the country's prime minister. She is now the fourth prime minister to step down since Larry the Cat became 10 Downing Street's Chief Mouser.
On Oct. 20, Liz Truss announced her resignation as prime minister after serving for 45 days. She followed Boris Johnson, who after months of turmoil within his government that ultimately led to the resignation of much of his cabinet, resigned from the position.
In reaction to Johnson’s resignation three months ago, a popular online video game streamer pointed out in a now-viral tweet that Larry the Cat, the chief mouser of 10 Downing Street, had outlasted the last three prime ministers. “He holds the true power over the country,” the streamer joked.
Has Larry the Cat held his official position at the British prime minister’s office longer than the last four prime ministers?
Yes, Larry the Cat will have held his official position at the British prime minister’s office longer than the last four British prime ministers — so long as he continues to be chief mouser when Truss’s successor is chosen. There is no apparent effort to fire or replace Larry, and Larry has not expressed any interest in stepping down from his post.
WHAT WE FOUND
Larry the Cat, according to the British government’s page on the history of 10 Downing Street, has been in residence at 10 Downing Street as the Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office since Feb. 15, 2011. He is the first cat at Number 10 to be given the official title of chief mouser.
His residence, 10 Downing Street, is the United Kingdom’s equivalent to the White House. British prime ministers have lived at the location since 1735.
In honor of Larry’s first year at the address, Number 10 posted an album of Larry pictures to its Flickr on Feb. 14, 2012.
When Larry moved in in 2011, David Cameron was prime minister. Cameron left the office and residence in July 2016. Since then, Theresa May and Boris Johnson have both been prime ministers of the United Kingdom, the British government’s website confirms. May held office until July 2019, when Johnson took over. All three prime ministers were of the Conservative Party.
Liz Truss, also of the Conservative Party, became the UK's next prime minister after Johnson's resignation. She was in office 45 days before she announced her own resignation on Oct. 20.
Truss will not step down from her role immediately. She says she will wait until her party has chosen her successor, much like her last two predecessors did. She said the election to choose that successor will be completed by the end of October.
The BBC says Cameron was responsible for bringing Larry into 10 Downing Street based on a recommendation from Battersea Dogs & Cats Home for his mousing skills. After receiving questions doubting his friendly relationship with Larry during his final days as prime minister, Cameron posted a picture of the cat sitting on his lap to Twitter.
Larry’s relationship with the next prime minister, who had hinted she was more of a dog person when she took her office, wasn’t as good, the BBC reported.
“Their relationship is unlikely to have improved after Larry was tactically extracted by police before Mrs. May's resignation speech amid fears he would upstage the departing PM,” the BBC said.
Reuters posted a video of the cat stalking around outside the front door of 10 Downing Street on July 6, 2022. “A reporter asked Downing Street's resident cat Larry if he has asked the prime minister to resign,” Reuters said.
According to the video’s title, Larry declined to comment.