Larry the cat drives off fox in Downing Street animal drama

Larry the cat drives off fox in Downing Street animal drama

LONDON — A London fox is just the latest to learn what many animals in central London already know: don’t mess with Larry the Cat.

Larry, Downing Street’s “chief mouser,” made headlines in Britain this week when he chased off a fox prowling on his turf.

Foxes in London are a thing. Thousands roam the streets. It’s not uncommon to see a blur of red fur late at night as foxes dart across a road, or eyes lighting up in the dark as they lurk behind garbage cans, in search of scraps of discarded food.

In Larry’s case, the fox was roaming around his patch outside of the prime minister’s residence at Downing Street when the cat went into full attack mode, chasing off an animal twice his size who fled into a flower bed before, wisely, getting out of there.

The feline-canine standoff wasn’t the first time that Larry showed who was the real boss at Downing Street.

Larry, a 16-year-old tabby, has had several encounters with animals outside of Downing Street, his home since 2011 after staff adopted him from the Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, an animal welfare charity that helps to find homes for unwanted pets. He was brought in to help with the rodent problem; the prime minister’s spokesman at the time said he had a “strong predatory drive.”

The British public saw just how strong that drive was when the rolling cameras, waiting for an update from officials on tense Brexit talks, caught Larry lunging at an pigeon. The bird seemed unharmed (miraculously) and flew off after their brief tussle.

He’s also bossed around fellow felines. His great nemesis was Palmerston, a black-and-white cat that belonged to the Foreign Office. The two have had highly undiplomatic relations, hissing and swiping at each other. In 2020, Palmerston “retired” to the countryside where he could “spend more time relaxing away from the limelight.”

Larry has also seen off several members of the animal kingdom. He’s currently on his fourth prime minister. He was brought into the office when David Cameron was leader. Cameron was followed by Theresa May, Boris Johnson and now Liz Truss.

Given the current political climate, some are wondering if Truss might not be his last lodger.

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Larry the cat drives off fox in Downing Street animal drama

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