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Cat Defender

Exposing the Lies and Crimes of Bird Advocates, Wildlife Biologists, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, PETA, the Humane Society of the United States, Exterminators, Vivisectors, the Scientific Community, Fur Traffickers, Cloners, Breeders, Designer Pet Purveyors, Hoarders, Motorists, the United States Military, and Other Ailurophobes

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Gladstone Joins Larry and Palmerston as Whitehall's Latest Resident Feline but the Chancellor of the Exchequer's Welsh Terrier, Rex, Is Waiting in the Wings to Put an End to All of Them

 Gladstone Arrives at the Exchequer along with Hammond's Red Box

"Gladstone can look forward to poring over budget scorecards, greeting visitors from around the world, but most importantly, setting his sights on the rodent population of the Treasury and assisting our pest controllers in keeping down the number of mice in our Horse Guard Road offices."
-- a spokesperson for the Exchequer
From the time of Humphrey's cruel banishment in 1997 until the arrival of Larry on February 16, 2011, not only was 10 Downing Street pretty much free of cats but all of Whitehall as well. (See Cat Defender posts of April 6, 2006 and July 21, 2011 entitled, respectively, "Humphrey, the Cat from 10 Downing Street Who Once 'Read' His Own Obituary, Passes Away at 18" and "Larry Faces Many Challenges and Dangers in His New Rôle as 10 Downing Street's Resident Feline.")

The one exception to that rule was a pretty black female named Sybil owned by Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling who spent an all-too-brief six months at 11 Downing Street back in 2007 and 2008 before she was given the bum's rush by cat-hating prime minister Gordon Brown. (See Cat Defender posts of September 19, 2007 and August 13, 2009 entitled, respectively, "After a Dreary Ten-Year Absence, Number 10 Downing Street Has a New Resident Feline and Her Name Is Sybil" and "Sybil, 10 Downing Street's Former First Feline, Dies Unexpectedly from an Undisclosed Illness.")

Larry, who toughed it out for five and one-half long and trying years as David Cameron's sorely neglected, unloved, and unwanted companion, was joined in April by Palmerston when the latter was adopted by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. (See Cat Defender posts of August 1, 2016 and August 8, 2016 entitled, respectively, "Unmercifully Maligned and Treated Like Dirt for So Many Years, Larry Nevertheless Manages to Stick Around Long Enough in Order to See the Last of David Cameron and His Uncaring Family" and "Palmerston Is Recruited for a Prestigious Post in Her Majesty's Diplomatic Service but Then Disgracefully Relegated to Makeshift Living Quarters Out in the Cold.")

The sometimes quarrelsome duo now have been joined by yet still another moggy in the form of an eighteen-month-old, black domestic shorthair named Gladstone who arrived at the Exchequer on June 27th. The decision to bring him on board was made by the department's John Oliver Frank Kingman who since that momentous undertaking has left public service in order to return to the private sector.

What, if any, impact his departure will have on Gladstone's future is unclear at this stage. The only thing that can be said so far is that the new chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, has heralded his arrival. "Looks like I'm not the only new arrival @hmtreasury -- welcome Gladstone!" he tweeted according to The Telegraph's July 29th edition. (See "Gladstone the Cat Comes to Whitehall -- but Will He Get Along with Larry and Palmerston?")

It also is conceivable that he may have played a role in the naming the Treasury's newest arrival in that while he was Foreign Secretary he supplied Palmerston with his moniker. The similarity in the the two cats' names could not possibly have been a coincidence in that whereas the Foreign Office's resident feline was named in honor of Viscount Palmerston III, who twice served as prime minister during the nineteenth century, the Exchequer's new cat is named in honor of William Ewart Gladstone who later followed in Palmerston's footsteps by serving as prime minister for no less than four times between 1868 and 1894.

Gladstone Formerly Was More Fittingly Known as Timmy

The political rivals often were at loggerheads and for that reason, among others, it is going to be interesting to see how well that the two toms get along with each other. So far, however, it has been all smooth sailing for Gladstone, even if the name bestowed upon him is more properly suited for a cat employed by Her Majesty's Diplomatic Service as opposed to one who is engaged in the vagaries of high finance.

Be that as it may, Gladstone is certainly a far more dignified name for a cat than either Adam Smith or Barclays ever would have been. Much more pertinently, no self-respecting feline ever has given so much as a tuppence for all the moola in Her Majesty's Treasury; a school of tuna, however, would be an entirely different proposition.

"We are delighted to introduce our new cat, Gladstone, to the heart of British politics," a spokesperson for the Exchequer is quoted as declaring in a July 29th press release issued by the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in south London. (See "Westminster Welcomes Its Third Battersea Mouser.") "We are confident that Gladstone will live up to the legacy of his namesake... and go down in history as one of the most impressive cats to roam Whitehall."

In that regard he certainly has his work cut out for him in that preliminary indications are that the slave drivers at the Exchequer plan on working him damn near to death. "Gladstone can look forward to poring over budget scorecards, greeting visitors from around the world, but most importantly, setting his sights on the rodent population of the Treasury and assisting our pest controllers in keeping down the number of mice in our Horse Guard Road offices," the spokesperson continued.

Battersea, which previously had unloaded both Larry and Palmerston on the politicians, echoed those sentiments. "He's a confident cat who absolutely loves people so he'll have to tear himself away from his cat cuddles to get down to business becoming a marvelous mouser," the organization's Lindsay Quinlan said in the press release cited supra. "Staff at Battersea fell in love with Gladstone during his stay here, his big cheeks and big heart match his big personality and we think the staff at the Treasury will quickly fall for his charm too."

During his first few weeks at the Exchequer Gladstone, who sports an attractive red ribbon around his neck, was confined to an office with six bean counters. During that period, he bided his time by playing in Hammond's Red Box (used for transporting official documents), scampering across tables, desks, and computers, chasing flies, staring longingly out the window and, of course, resting up before tackling the long laundry list of chores that have been assigned to him. By this time, however, he should have been fitted with an electronic tracking device and turned loose to patrol the sprawling grounds of the Treasury.

In the precious few snatches of free time that has been left to him, Gladstone has turned to Twitter and Instagram for his amusement as well as to keep in touch with his ever-growing legion of fans. Other than that, almost nothing has been disclosed about his personal care and living arrangement.

Gladstone Initially Was Cooped Up Indoors with the Bean Counters

The only thing known for certain is that he will not be bunking with Hammond and his family at 11 Downing Street as Sybil did with Darling and his wife during her tenure at the Exchequer. A facilities and security team will, supposedly, look after his needs on weekends with Treasury staffers doing likewise on the days that they turn up for work.

Conspicuously omitted from all the hoopla generated by his unexpected arrival upon the political scene has been any mention whatsoever of exactly where he is going to hang his hat and that in turn has led to speculation that he very well could wind up sleeping out in the elements like Palmerston. His personal safety is an even greater concern but, as best it could be determined, no one at the Treasury has been assigned the herculean task of making doubly sure that he is neither run down by a motorist nor meets with foul play.

Although the Treasury has been inexcusably reticent on both those issues, it has responded with alacrity whenever the subject of who is going to foot the bill for his upkeep has been broached. "He will not cost taxpayers anything," a spokeswoman for the Exchequer vowed to The Guardian on July 29th. (See "Gladstone the Cat Gives Treasury Some Purr-fect PR.")

That entire arrangement is so shameful that it borders on being criminal. If the Exchequer insists upon keeping a cat, a far more humane arrangement would be for it to invest a few taxpayer crowns in providing Gladstone with a warm, secure, and dry permanent place to live instead of forcing him to rely upon handouts from staffers for his daily sustenance. It also ought to appoint a paid guardian to attend to his needs and personal safety.

Any individual or group who not only would condemn a cat to live out in the cold but to callously turn him loose to roam the perilous, traffic-clogged streets of Westminster richly deserves to be arrested, charged with animal cruelty, and then jailed for a long time. The petit fait that it is precisely politicians and bureaucrats who are engaging in such reprehensible and inexcusable behavior only serves to make it all the more contemptible.

As if all of those very real fears were not daunting enough in their own right, Hammond is reportedly considering installing his Welsh Terrier, Rex, at 11 Downing Street in order to bedevil not only Gladstone but Larry and Palmerston as well. (See The Telegraph, July 29, 2016, "Is Philip Hammond About to Move His 'Cat-Hating' Dog in Next to Larry and Palmerston?")

If accurate, that certainly would explain why he has so adamantly refused to both take personal responsibility for Gladstone's care and to allow him to live with him at 11 Downing Street. Predictably, the uncaring and totally irresponsible feline exploiters at Battersea have so far not had a blessed thing to say regarding this potentially ominous development.

Ruthless Rex the Cat-Hating Welsh Terrier

As soon as Rex either chews up one of the cats or chases one of them out into the street and to his death underneath the wheels of a motorist there most assuredly is going to be an international backlash against both Hammond and Battersea. Cruelty, neglect, and the naked exploitation of cats on any level only leads to more of the same on other levels and in that regard it is long overdue that the politicians and bureaucrats of Whitehall and phony-baloney rescue groups such as Battersea were held legally accountable under the anti-cruelty statutes.

Contrary to what the Fleet Street crowd earnestly believes, this is not any joking matter; rather it is an issue of life and death as far as Gladstone, Larry, and Palmerston are concerned. Moreover, their precious lives are most assuredly not worth any less than those of the Hammonds and the representatives of the Batterseas of this world; au fait, those of the former are a million times more valuable than those of the latter.

Gladstone's predicament is made all the more deplorable in that he, like Larry and Palmerston before him, has had a rough life. In particular, he was found back in May wandering the streets of London where almost anything terrible can, and usually does, befall homeless felines.

Even more outrageously, his previous caretaker made absolutely no effort whatsoever to reclaim him after he, originally known as Timmy, had skyrocketed to international fame with his appointment to the Treasury. There is not any way of knowing for sure, but that certainly makes it appear that he was intentionally abandoned to either sink or swim on his own.

Instead of demonstrating compassion and understanding for all the deprivations that he was forced to endure while roughing it, Battersea libeled him as "a quite greedy" cat who needs to be fed in moderation in an interview that it gave to the Daily Mail on July 29th. (See "It's Pussy Galore! Now the Treasury Recruits Gladstone the Cat to Chase Out the Mice -- but Will He Join the Turf War Between Number Ten's Larry and Palmerston of the Foreign Office?")

Gladstone is most definitely anything but a "greedy" cat; au contraire, his seemingly insatiable appetite is merely a leftover side effect from the time that he spent starving on the street. Once he becomes accustomed to receiving regular and timely meals his eating habits should return to pretty much normal.

Provided that Hammond belatedly comes to his senses and does not proceed with his outrageous plan to install Rex at 11 Downing Street, Gladstone should be able to look forward to, hopefully, many happy years at the Exchequer. There also is not any obvious reason why that he should not be able to get along famously with Larry and Palmerston.

There may be a few spats here and there along the way but that is only normal where cats are concerned. Nevertheless, the interactions between all three toms need to be closely monitored in order to ensure that none of them gets seriously injured.

Photos: Battersea Dogs and Cats Home (Gladstone with Hammond's Red Box and on top of a table), Your Local Guardian of Sutton in Surrey (Gladstone up close), and Twitter (Rex).

Monday, August 08, 2016

Palmerston Is Recruited for a Prestigious Post in Her Majesty's Diplomatic Service but Then Disgracefully Relegated to Makeshift Living Quarters Out in the Cold

Young Palmerston Cuts Quite a Dash as a Diplomat

"He is definitely not a mole and I can categorically assure you that Palmerston has been regularly vetted. As for being a sleeper, he is definitely a sleeper, I am told very often in my office."
-- former Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond

Is the tiny section of Whitehall that is bordered by Downing and King Charles streets in the City of Westminster a sufficiently large enough area in order for two alpha tomcats to peacefully coexist? The world is about to find out one way or the other pretty soon now that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has adopted a two-year-old tuxedo named Palmerston to not only serve as its resident feline but to unavoidably vie with 10 Downing Street's longtime cat, Larry, in a battle for turf, popularity, and prominence.

Named, appropriately enough, in honor of Viscount Palmerston ( Henry John Temple) who not only once served as Foreign Secretary but also twice as prime minister during the mid-nineteenth century, he arrived at the Foreign Office in early April courtesy of the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in south London. No other monikers were reportedly even so much as entertained.

Considering the utterly disgraceful manner in which English politicians historically have pissed away trillions of pounds on both foreign misadventures and domestic special interests, it certainly would not have been any great crime for them to have invested a few taxpayer sovereigns in Palmerston's upkeep and maintenance but the diplomats would not hear of that. "Palmerston's domestic posting will have zero cost to the public purse as a staff kitty will be used to pay for him and all aspects of his welfur (sic)," a spokesperson for the Foreign Office confided to BuzzFeed on April 11th. (See "The Foreign Office Is Getting Its Own Cat and It's Called Palmerston.")

In fulfillment of that objective, a cake sale was held April 12th at the Foreign Office. Apparently, it never so much as crossed the minds of any of the highly-paid civil servants to take personal responsibility for Palmerston's minimalist financial needs; instead, they have insisted upon behaving like down-at-the-heel bums who cannot even afford to so much as part with bus fare to the office.

As it invariably always turns out to be the case, cheapness and callousness only beget more of the same and the proof of that is to be found in the bargain basement housing arrangement that the Foreign Office has lined up for its newest and most famous staffer. For instance, whereas he initially was allowed to bunk in the office of Permanent Under-Secretary Sir Simon McDonald, who also gave him his name, he now has been exiled to some kind of undefined makeshift shelter in the Foreign Office's courtyard. Unless this facility is at the very least located in a safe area, commodious, enclosed, heated, and waterproof, McDonald and the entire Foreign Office bureaucracy should be charged with animal cruelty and promptly jailed.

Palmerston and Permanent Under-Secretary Sir Simon McDonald

Even as such, to adopt a cat and then turn around and treat it far worse than bloodsucking farmers in the United States do their itinerant seasonal laborers is nothing short of shameful. On the contrary, Palmerston deserves to be afforded unfettered access to the indoors, either an office or a house, where he can feel safe, warm, and dry at all times and is not completely cut off from all human contact.

Predictably, this totally outrageous living arrangement has been wholeheartedly approved of by Battersea which has demonstrated time and time again that it will gladly sell any cat down the river for as little as a farthing. "We have worked closely with Battersea Dogs and Cats Home on Palmerston's deployment and they have inspected his new home, as they do for all pawtential (sic) new owners of their rescue cats," the Foreign Office spokesperson preened to BuzzFeed.

The Foreign Office's shabby treatment of him is made all the more unconscionable in light of the fact that his life to date has been anything but a bowl of cherries. The public record is far from complete but he apparently was found hungry and underweight wandering the forlorn streets of London sometime last year.

Initially christened as Leonard, possibly because he was found on the street that bears that name, he immediately was handed over to Battersea where he, presumably, remained until he was taken in by the Foreign Office. Based upon his prolonged incarceration, it would appear that the rescue group never broke so much as a sweat in an effort to place him in the loving, permanent, and secure home that he so richly deserves. (See the BBC, April 13, 2016, "Palmerston the Stray Cat Is New 'Chief Mouser' at Foreign Office.")

Now, his life has come full circle in that he has traded a meager existence on the mean streets for makeshift quarters in a courtyard. While it is always conceivable that he will recognize a discernible improvement in his circumstances, the odds bode against that happening and that is going to be even more so the case on all of those interminably long, cold, foggy, and rainy London nights when he is left to tough it out by his lonesome.

Although it is entirely possible that the Foreign Office has had cats before, it certainly has not publicly admitted to sheltering any of them in recent memory. Plus, with Larry firmly ensconced next door at 10 Downing Street there would scarcely appear to be much of a need for it to add one of its own. (See Cat Defender post of August 1, 2016 entitled "Unmercifully Maligned and Treated Like Dirt for So Many Years, Larry Nevertheless Manages to Stick Around Long Enough in Order to See the Last of David Cameron and His Uncaring Family.")

Palmerston Has Reportedly Picked Up a Little Nipponese

For whatever it possibly could be worth, the Foreign Office is adhering to the old familiar bromide that its premises are so overrun with mice that even professional exterminators are not up to the task of keeping them in check. "Palmerston is Her Majesty's Diplomatic Service's newest arrival and in the role of Foreign and Commonwealth Office Chief Mouser will assist our pest controllers in keeping down the number of mice in our King Charles Street building," its spokesperson told BuzzFeed.

In that respect, Palmerston has gotten off to a roaring start in that after only a little more than a month on the job he already had been credited with three kills. That in turn earned him a "more than satisfactorily" rating from then Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond who since that time has moved on to become Chancellor of the Exchequer in the government of new prime minister Theresa May.

Hammond's decision to recruit Palmerston also has garnered him high praise from the speaker of the House, John Bercow, who has his own mouser. "For five years we have had a first-class cat who has done the necessary (and) its name, of course, is Order," he crowed like a proud new papa to BuzzFeed on May 24th. (See "The Foreign Secretary Just Denied That the Foreign Office Cat Is an EU Spy.")

Nevertheless, Order's fine work has failed to silence some parliamentarians who still insist that both the Commons as well as the House of Lords are overrun with mice. (See Cat Defender post of November 24, 2014 entitled "Tory MP Anne McIntosh Calls for Cats to Be Brought Back to the Palace of Westminster in Order to Get the Rodent Problem Under Control.")

Another, albeit considerably less plausible, explanation could be that the diplomats simply like cats. "Freya's been missed so much and everyone's looking forward to having a cat around the place again," an unidentified governmental staffer confided to BuzzFeed in the April 11th article cited supra.

She, of course, was former Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne's peripatetic brown cat who lived with him and his family at 11 Downing Street from roughly June of 2012 until November of 2014 when she was exiled to Kent. (See Cat Defender posts of November 10, 2014 and November 13, 2014 entitled, respectively, "Freya, the Chancellor of the Exchequer's Resident Feline, Cheats Death Once Again When She Survives Being Run Down and Injured by a Motorist but Her Good Luck Cannot Last for Much Longer" and "Gutless Georgie 'Porgie' Osborne Gets Rid of Freya but in Doing So Lies About the True Reason Behind His Second Cruel Abandonment of Her.")

An Excerpt from Palmerston's Diary

Even if credible, the explanation afforded by the governmental source would tend to imply that Larry either seldom visits the Foreign Office or that is presence there is unwelcome. Furthermore, since he has lived next door for the past five and one-half years the diplomats certainly have had more than ample time in order to have put out the welcome mat for him.

The most plausible explanation therefore is that Palmerston, like Larry and all other cats shanghaied into the rough and tumble world of English politics, is being exploited by the Foreign Office in an effort to deflect criticism of its policies as well as to cast the diplomats in a far more favorable public light than otherwise might be the case. It also is likely that he was brought on board in anticipation of England's exiting of the European Union (EU) and thus assuming a much larger role on the world stage as an independent nation.

Besides sufficing as a more than able-bodied mouser in his species' oldest calling, Palmerston already has established himself as being very much the epitome of a forward-thinking, modern-day cat. For example, he not only is adept at using Twitter but also authors a diary in an internal newsletter that is published by the Foreign Office.

Most amazing of all, he reportedly is attempting to pick up a little Japanese which, sans doute, will serve him and the diplomats well whenever guests from the land of the rising sun come to visit. (See the Daily Mail, June 8, 2016, "'Hello People of Japan! Are There Any Mice Around?': Palmerston the Foreign Office Cat Hones His Diplomacy Skills by Speaking to His Twitter Followers in Japanese.")

Although generally speaking Palmerston has gotten off to a good start in his new job, it has not been all smooth sailing. In particular, ever since no less than five dons from Cambridge University were unmasked as KGB spies during the last century, the English have been, quite justifiably, obsessed with moles. Owing to her frequent visits to the Foreign Office, even Freya became unwittingly enveloped in a cloud of suspicion as being a sleeper and the same baseless accusations have dogged Palmerston almost his first day on the job.

"Has Palmerston been positively vetted by the security service (MI5) and scanned for bugs by Government Communications Headquarters," Tory MP Keith Simpson of Broadland in Norfolk pointedly asked Hammond on May 24th according to the BuzzFeed article of the same date cited supra. "Can you assure the House, and the more paranoid elements of the Brexiters, of Palmerston's provenance and that he is not a long-term mole working for the European Commission?"

Palmerston and Larry Duke It Out 

That was one concern that Hammond certainly was well prepared to put to rest. "He is definitely not a mole and I can categorically assure you that Palmerston has been regularly vetted," he averred to BuzzFeed. "As for being a sleeper, he is definitely a sleeper, I am told very often in my office."

While he was at it, he also took full advantage of the moment in order to take yet still another whack at an ax already ground down to the handle by the likes of Nigel Farage, who has represented southeast England as an MP in the European Parliament in Brussels ever since 1999, and he did so by ridiculing the work ethics of the Commission. "But unlike Freya, who went missing for two years, his attendance has been one-hundred per cent," Hammond crowed. "My experts tell me that pretty much rules out the possibility of him being a Commission employee."

It was not long after he had been exonerated as being a spy that Palmerston became embroiled in a series of well-publicized street brawls with Larry. The first one occurred on July 17th when the latter ventured onto the grounds of the Foreign Office.

The two toms scuffled briefly before Larry managed to pin Palmerston to the pavement. The victor then padded back to 10 Downing Street while Palmerston retreated to the inner recesses of the Foreign Office. (See The Telegraph, July 17, 2016, "Claws Out in Whitehall as Larry the Cat Takes on Palmerston, His Foreign Office Rival.")

There was not any apparent bloodshed although Larry later received veterinary treatment on July 20th for a limp that he had developed in his front right leg. For his part, Palmerston later was photographed with a patch of fur missing from his back.

It is by no means clear, however, if the injuries suffered by both combatants were the result of their misunderstanding. (See The Telegraph, July 21, 2016, "Larry the Cat Treated by Vet Amid Turf War 'Fracas' with Rival Palmerston at Number Ten.")

 Palmerston Is Pinned to the Concrete by Larry

Later on July 25th, Palmerston attempted to gain entry into the prime minister's residence but was thwarted by a bobby stationed outside who promptly gave him the bum's rush. A long-distance standoff between him and Larry ensued but it ended peacefully without violence. (See the Daily Mail, July 26, 2016, "Another Eviction from Number Ten! Boris Johnson's Cat Palmerston Is Shown the Door as He Tries to Sneak into the Downing Street Lair of His Arch-Enemy Larry.")

Although the Fleet Street crowd had characterized the scuffling between Palmerston and Larry as a turf war, that may not be a completely accurate description of it. Given his past history and especially his cruel eviction from the cozy confines of the Foreign Office, it is entirely possible that Palmerston is merely searching for the secure, indoor home that he has been denied for all of his existence.

If there is any truth in that surmise, the simple solution to this dilemma would be for the Foreign Office to now do what it should have done in the first place and that would be to bring Palmerston in from the cold by providing him with living quarters somewhere inside its sprawling complex. If such a policy change accomplished nothing else, it would significantly reduce the number of chance, and potentially violent, interactions with Larry.

That does not appear, however, to be among the options currently being considered by the politicians. "I have to say, I saw some reports in the media that (Larry) had been involved in a fracas with the Foreign Office cat, but I hope that they have now established a modus vivendi," the Tories' leader in the Commons, David Lidington of Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, told The Telegraph in the July 21st article cited supra.

As far as it is known, that has yet to happen and, besides, intelligence and due diligence have shown themselves down through time immemorial to be much better palliatives than wishful thinking when it comes to resolving difficulties. The good news is that the fights so far have not amounted to much and that augurs well that the cats eventually will be able to work things out amongst themselves.

Since Battersea never would allow any intact cat to escape from its penitentiary, both of them most assuredly have been neutered and that expedient, in most cases, significantly curtails the aggressive tendencies of males. Plus, since neither of them is either overly large or muscular that would tend to limit the amount of damage that they are capable of inflicting upon each other. Perhaps most important of all, there are not any known fertile females in the neighborhood for them to fight over even if they should be so inclined.

Palmerston Is Denied Entry to 10 Downing Street by a Bobby 

Nevertheless, the interactions between them need to be closely monitored in order to ensure that they do not turn into life and death struggles. Should that occur, the safest way to separate them would be with a water pistol.

In extremely violent cases, it sometimes is necessary to physically separate fighting toms even though that involves risks. In that regard, scratches are not anything to be overly concerned about even though they certainly can sting for a while.

Bites on the other hand can result in painful, debilitating infections that have been known to drag on for more than a month. Sometimes a prompt and thorough application of hydrogen peroxide that is accompanied by over-the-counter antibiotics, such as Bacitracin Zinc, Neomycin Sulfate, or Polymyxin-B Sulfate, will suffice but at other times only prescription antibiotics are strong enough in order to ward off serious problems.

The key therefore when it comes to separating warring toms is not to get either bitten or scratched in the eyes. In furtherance of that objective, protective goggles and long, padded gloves often are necessary.

Although sporadic outbursts of this type of aggression may sometimes appear and sound as if murder and mayhem are being committed, it usually is best for both guardians and onlookers not to intervene unless blood is spouting and the fur is flying. It is entirely permissible, however, to attempt to distract the belligerents with either treats or some other alternative method.

None of those expedients may be necessary in this case owing to the fact that there is not any obvious reason why that Palmerston and Larry cannot eventually learn to peacefully coexist. They might even some day become friends.

Palmerston and Larry in a Standoff Outside 10 Downing

They were not, after all, always enemies in that Larry sent him a package of Dreamies® and a toy mouse when he first arrived at the Foreign Office. (See BuzzFeed, June 19, 2016, "Palmerston the Foreign Office Cat Was Originally Called Leonard.")

Furthermore, it is nothing out of the ordinary for cats to get off on the wrong foot any more than it is for individuals to do likewise. For instance, Larry and Freya once duked it out shortly after her arrival back in 2012 but, as far as it is known, there were not any further hostilities between them. (See The Telegraph, October 16, 2012, "Police Called to Break Up Violent Cat Fight in Downing Street.")

Transcending all of those concerns, Palmerston and Larry are pretty much in the same boat and need each other. In the newcomer's case, his original benefactor has been replaced by Boris de Pfeffel Johnson who now reigns as Foreign Secretary. Unfortunately, absolutely nothing is known about the transplanted New Yorker, who earlier this year completed his second four-year term as mayor of London, and his views regarding cats.

Larry likewise lost his protector, David Cameron, in July and his fate is now in May's hands. Although there have been some indications that both his position and home are safe for the time being, things can change in the twinkling of an eye at 10 Downing Street.

In that regard, it is well-known that Johnson dearly covets May's job and some political pundits have speculated that Palmerston's storming of the world's most famous black door was merely the opening salvo in what is destined to be a protracted battle to wrest power from her grasp. If so, the coup plotter's modus operandi would appear to be first to get rid of her cat and then her.

Regardless of how events ultimately unfold for both Larry and Palmerston, it goes almost without saying that the lot of all cats is an outrageously unfair one. First of all, they are denied any say whatsoever in either where they live or under what conditions. Secondly, they never are given so much as an inkling whenever those who have assumed dominion over them are about to pull the plug on their earthly existences.

Those sad realities are facts of life for both those that are famous, such as Palmerston and Larry, as well as for those who live out their brief lives in obscurity. Rather than striving to enhance their lives and status and thus to set an example as to how that all cats should be treated, the cruelties, neglect, and injustices meted out to those of the rich and famous serve only to underscore once again the sobering reality that in this world cats have almost no rights at all.

Photos: BBC (Palmerston up close and with McDonald), Twitter via the Daily Mail (Palmerston with a Japanese language book), BuzzFeed (Palmerston's diary), Paul Grover of The Telegraph (Palmerston and Larry fighting), and the Daily Mail (Palmerston being evicted from 10 Downing Street and his standoff with Larry).

Monday, August 01, 2016

Unmercifully Maligned and Treated Like Dirt for So Many Years, Larry Nevertheless Manages to Stick Around Long Enough in Order to See the Last of David Cameron and His Uncaring Family

Larry Is Still Hanging His Hat at 10 Downing Street

"Larry is staying. He's very much the Downing Street cat, not the Camerons' personal cat. He is a Downing Street legend."
-- a spokesman for the Cabinet Office

The momentous decision of the English people to bid a not so fond farewell to the European Union in a June 23rd national referendum sent shock waves throughout not only Whitehall but the world as well and that in turn culminated in the departure of Prime Minister David Cameron on July 13th. Numerous other heads rolled throughout the political establishment but once the dust had settled the most unlikely survivor of all turned out to be the prime minister's much maligned nine-year-old brown and white resident feline, Larry.

"Larry is staying. He's very much the Downing Street cat, not the Camerons' personal cat," a spokesman for the Cabinet Office told the print edition of The Philadelphia Inquirer on July 13th. (See "Larry Stays at 10 Downing.") "He is a Downing Street legend."

Cameron who, at least for the time being, plans on remaining in the House of Commons as a backbencher, wholeheartedly agreed with that decision. "He belongs to the house and the staff love him very much as do I," he declared to the Daily Mail on July 13th. (See "Mice Watch Out: Larry the Cat to Stay at 10 Downing Street.")

As nonsensical as both Cameron's and the Cabinet Office's reasoning appear to be au premier coup d'oeil, it is not without some small measure of precedent. For instance, when Humphrey wandered into 10 Downing Street back in 1989 he was allowed to remain there throughout the tenures of both Margaret Thatcher and John Major but neither of them was willing to provide him with a permanent home after their political careers went up in smoke.

The similarity in the treatment meted out to him and Larry ends there however because once the old snake charmer Tony Blair and his resident witch, Cherie, had gained control of the levers of powers in 1997 all the benevolence lavished upon Humphrey by both 10 Downing Street and the Cabinet Office went out the window much like a baby with the bath water. Almost as appallingly, there was not any hue and cry of protest to be heard anywhere on Whitehall concerning either the fact that the prime minister's residence was, most likely, the only home that he ever had known or his right to have lived out his remaining days there.

Instead, he was unceremoniously packed off to an undisclosed private residence in south London where he later died in obscurity in March of 2006. (See Cat Defender post of April 6, 2006 entitled "Humphrey, the Cat from 10 Downing Street Who Once 'Read' His Own Obituary, Passes Away at 18.")

As utterly reprehensible as all of that was, Humphrey is far from being the only cat to have been hideously used, abused, and then discarded like yesterday's newspapers by the politicians and bureaucrats who attempt to boss around the world from the comfort of their palatial residences on Whitehall. For example, in early 2008 cat and animal hater Gordon Brown ordered Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling to get rid of his cat, Sybil, who earlier had been brought down from Edinburgh.

Regrettably, she died shortly after her cruel exile at the undisclosed location of one of Darling's acquaintances. (See Cat Defender posts of September 19, 2007 and August 13, 2009 entitled, respectively, "After a Dreary Ten-Year Absence, Number 10 Downing Street Has a New Resident Feline and Her Name Is Sybil" and "Sybil, 10 Downing Street's Former First Feline, Dies Unexpectedly from an Undisclosed Illness.")

As recently as 2014, former Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, who also fell from power with Cameron on July 13th, gave the boot to his long neglected cat, Freya, after she had lost out in a battle for his affections to his Bichon Frisé, Lola. The good news is that there is, apparently, life after Downing Street for some cats in that she is still alive today and believed to be residing somewhere in Kent. (See Cat Defender posts of November 10, 2014 and November 13, 2014 entitled, respectively, "Freya, the Chancellor of the Exchequer's Resident Feline, Cheats Death Once Again When She Survives Being Run Down and Injured by a Motorist but Her Good Luck Cannot Last for Much Longer" and "Gutless Georgie 'Porgie' Osborne Gets Rid of Freya but in Doing So Lies About the True Reason Behind His Second Cruel Abandonment of Her.")

The So-Called "Proof" of Cameron's Love for Larry

The deafening silence of the Cabinet Office in regard to the ousters of both Sybil and Freya can perhaps be explained by the fact that both of them, unlike Larry, were privately owned felines. That does not account in any way, however, for its acquiescence in the Blairs' machinations against Humphrey.

When all is said and done, the distinction that both Cameron and the Cabinet Office is making between privately owner and governmental cats appears to be more contrived than real. It does furnish, however, a rather convenient rationale for allowing both politicians and bureaucrats to shirk their solemn responsibilities to them.

More broadly speaking, the thinking and behavior of Cameron, Darling, and Osborne is radically at adds with that of all genuine fans of the species who never under any conceivable circumstances would even so much as countenance the very thought of abandoning their beloved companions. In his defense, Cameron insisted to the bitter end that he cares deeply for Larry.

"(I want to end speculation that) I somehow don't love Larry," he told the Daily Mail in the article cited supra. "I do, and I have photographic evidence to prove it."

The proof of his affection consisted, however, of only a single photograph of Larry sitting in his lap. Besides the rather obvious possibility that the photograph could have been staged for propaganda purposes, one tender moment spent with a cat does not prove fidelity any more than the cameo appearance of a solitary robin is a harbinger that spring is just around the corner.

Even more telling, there is considerable evidence to support the contention that Cameron never wanted a cat in the first place and he demonstrated that antipathy as far back as 2009 when he and the Tories were still in opposition by nixing the idea of adopting one. (See the BBC, July 29, 2009, "No Plan for Number 10 Cat -- Cameron.")

Once he had come to power, however, he and his cronies immediately recognized the public relations bonanza to be reaped by bringing on board a resident feline and as a result the then four-year-old Larry was adopted by 10 Downing Street on February 16, 2011. "I'm sure he will be a great addition to Downing Street and will charm our many visitors," Cameron proclaimed upon his arrival.

Despite the unassailable fact that Larry's acquisition had been motivated by the basest of political motives imaginable, both Cameron and the media insisted upon perpetuating the myth that he had been brought in to catch mice. That was a ruse that the sniveling buttlickers at the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in south London, who earlier in January of 2011 had arrested him in the street and unjustly incarcerated him, were only too happy to go along with for, quite naturally, a price. "Larry should not have any problem getting the mice under control," the organization's Kristy Walker ballyhooed at that time. "I can definitely see Larry holding his own."

As things eventually turned out, the rodent infestation allegedly plaguing 10 Downing Street turned out to be the least of Larry's worries in that no sooner had he set his paws inside the premises than the back-stabbing, character assassinations, and general disparagement commenced with a vengeance foreign to even Whitehall standards. The trouble all began when ITV reporter Lucy Manning made a stink about being scratched after she idiotically had forcibly attempted to get Larry to pose for her.

Larry Warily Eyes Theresa May as She Arrives at 10 Downing Street 

Soon thereafter a peeler posted outside the world's most famous black door was photographed abusing Larry with his foot. That was quickly followed up by a seemingly never-ending stream of press reports calling into question his prowess as a mouser.

Cameron reportedly became so disgusted with Larry's alleged propensity to sleep while the mice played that he resorted to throwing cutlery at the intruders. (See Cat Defender post of July 21, 2011 entitled "Larry Faces Many Challenges and Dangers in His New Rôle as 10 Downing Street's Resident Feline.")

It even was feared for a while that he was about to be sacked. Thankfully, that never occurred but life did not get all that much easier for him.

There also were persistent complaints from staffers who had been scratched when they sat down on top of him. Being quite obviously either blind or every bit as mindless at Manning, they only got what they richly deserved but being totally unwilling to acknowledge their own faux pas they lamely attempted to pack off all the blame on Larry who, unfortunately, is unable to speak up in his own defense.

He later on was reportedly banned from the Camerons' refurbished flat following a £64,000 makeover because he allegedly was leaving cat hairs all over the place. "Poor Larry is being treated like some servant from Downton Abbey," Labor MP Kerry McCarthy of Bristol East complained in 2011. "It is shocking that after all the publicity he is not even allowed to set paw inside the prime minister's flat."

As if all of that unfounded criticism were not reprehensible enough, the baying hounds of Fleet Street even have begrudged him those few stolen moments that he has been able to spend in the company of Mark Wasil-ewski's cat, Maisy, of the nearby St. James's Park neighborhood. (See Cat Defender post of November 28, 2011 entitled "Larry Is Persevering as Best He Can Despite Being Constantly Maligned by Both Fleet Street and the Prime Minister's Duplicitous Staff.")

The torch has now been passed from Cameron to new prime minister Theresa May who will serve as Larry's nominal caretaker. Not a good deal is known about the fifty-nine-year-old clergyman's daughter who has represented Maidenhead in Berkshire in the Commons since 1997 and who most recently served as Home Secretary since 2010. (See The Philadelphia Inquirer's print edition of July 14, 2016, "It's an Upbeat Entrance by British Leader May" and The New York Times' print edition of July 21, 2016, "On a Day of Firsts, May Holds Her Own at Home and Abroad.")

The only thing that can be said for certain is that the aftermath of the Brexit vote is destined to consume a lion's share of her time and energies well into the foreseeable future and that could prove to be either a good thing or an ominous development as far as Larry is concerned. Most disquieting of all, the English media has been uncharacteristically reticent when it comes to May's views on Larry in particular and cats in general.

Qué será será. Larry Is Content to Live in the Present

As best it could be determined, the only recent public comment on the matter has come courtesy of the Tories' leader in the Commons, David Lidington of Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, who told his colleagues last month that he could "completely reassure" them about May's good intentions toward Larry. (See The Telegraph of London, July 21, 2016, "Larry the Cat Treated by Vet Amid Turf 'Fracas' with Rival Palmerston at Number 10.")

Only time will tell how well that he is able to get on with the new tenants of Number 10 but if the nine-year-old moggy has demonstrated anything during his time spent in the political spotlight it is that he is a survivor. Hopefully, May will have the bon sens to realize that he is, arguably, the number one asset that she has going for her in the turbulent and uncertain days and years that lie ahead.

Although Larry in all likelihood is provided with an adequate supply of food and water, shelter, and access to veterinary care whenever he needs it, the proper care of a cat entails considerably more than those basics. Of particular concern in his case is his personal safety in that Whitehall, like virtually everywhere else nowadays, has its fair share of cat-murdering motorists, poisoners, thieves, and other assorted ailurophobes.

In that light, it is especially disturbing that, as far as it has been revealed, the Cabinet Office does not assign any particular individual the daunting task of looking out for his personal safety. Consequently, he is left to wander the perilous streets of Whitehall both night and day without the benefit of a chaperone and that can only be a prescription for disaster, if not death itself.

No matter how that his living arrangement is analyzed, it is impossible to come away with any other conclusion than that a gaggle of uncaring bureaucrats with their own political axes to grind are poor substitutes for a loving and conscientious guardian. Then there is the troubling question of what is going to happen to him once he has outlived his usefulness to both the Cabinet Office and the occupants du jour of 10 Downing Street.

In addition to the naked exploitation of cats like Larry by the politicians and bureaucrats of Whitehall as well as the media, the conduct of Battersea in this shabby business is simply abominable. Whereas any legitimate rescue group would put the needs, safety, and happiness of its cats first, it is only concerned with feathering its own nest by currying favor with the political elites.

Tant pis, absolutely no one involved in the least little way with Larry is willing to even acknowledge that sacred responsibilities accompany all forms of cat ownership. In addition to that, everyone involved is setting a simply disgraceful example of how a cat should be treated.

To put the matter succinctly, the politicians, bureaucrats, media and, above all, Battersea, either should face up to their responsibilities to cats like Larry or otherwise get out of the feline exploitation business once and for all time. That is not about to happen, however, because absolutely none of them are capable of even acknowledging that cats are morally sentient beings whose lives are worthy of being treasured and safeguarded; instead, they look down their disjointed schnozes at them as being little more than an endless supply of inexpensive political props to be exploited to the hilt and then afterwards to be gotten rid of in the quickest and most expeditious manner available.

It therefore does not seem unfair to consign all of those rotten apples to the same barrel that is currently overflowing with those coarsest of all souls who know the cost of everything but the value of absolutely nothing. Even more lamentably, Larry's distinguished service on behalf of 10 Downing Street and the nation as a whole has been to this very day both largely underappreciated and in vain.

Photos: Frank Augstein of the Associated Pres via the Daily Mail (Larry on the steps of 10 Downing Street and lying on the concrete), Twitter via The Telegraph (Larry and Cameron), and the BBC (Larry and May).