Something for the weekend: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has appointed Palmerston the cat as chief mouser.
Palmerston joins the UK government department from Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, which has been caring for him since March.
Palmerston, who has been named after former prime minister and foreign secretary Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston, will be responsible for catching rodents in the Foreign Office.
When not on duty, he will stay in the office of permanent under-secretary Sir Simon McDonald.
Palmerston will be able to roam through the majority of offices and official rooms in the FCO, and will be cared for by members of staff.
The black and white moggy follows in the paw prints of other government cats, including Larry, another Battersea cat who was rehomed at 10 Downing Street, and Freya, previously owned by Chancellor George Osborne and a frequent visitor to the Foreign Office.
Lindsey Quinlan, head of catteries at Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, said: “Palmerston will have no problems making friends and foes in the Foreign Office. He’s a very confident cat, loves being with people, and enjoys a good chin rub.
“But nothing escapes the attention of this Battersea moggy and we know he’ll have an eagle eye out for unwanted visitors, whiskers twitching and ready to pounce at the right moment, to keep his new home free of rodent interlopers. If his behaviour at Battersea is anything to go by, we predict Palmerston will be a formidable feline, very deserving of his new name.”
McDonald added: “I am delighted to welcome Palmerston to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. In his role as FCO chief mouser, he will assist our pest controllers in keeping down the number of mice in our King Charles Street building. I hope that Palmerston’s impact will be as considerable as his namesake’s.”
The Employee Benefits team wishes Palmerston the best of luck in his new rodent-catting role, and wonders what other animals may be well-suited to a position in the UK government…