From Kentish Town to Number 10: Battersea Offers Tips to New PM Ahead of Move to Avert Potential Cat-Astrophe on Larry’s Turf

05 Jul 2024

Following today’s announcement of the newly elected Prime Minister, Downing Street’s Chief Mouser and ex-Battersea cat Larry may be preparing for a new feline to move into Number 10; Kier Starmer’s rescue cat, Jojo.

Larry came to Battersea’s London centre as a stray and was rehomed to the Cabinet Office in 2011, being given the title of Chief Mouser. Since then, he has seen five Prime Ministers come and go, and in that time has ruled the roost with his own campaign trailblazing. Having famously had ‘heated exchanges’ with the outgoing Prime Minister’s dog, Nova, and previously being seen having a cat fight with the ex-Foreign Office cat, the now retired Palmerston, Larry is well known for protecting his turf.

As cats tend to prefer their own space, rarely sharing it with others, they won’t always welcome another feline with open paws. However, to give them the best chance of getting along, leading animal welfare charity, Battersea, has several expert tips to help with Larry and Jojo's first meeting.

JoAnna Puzzo, Feline Behaviour and Training Manager at Battersea, said: “Cats are naturally territorial creatures and the way they are introduced can play a big part in how they get along, so it’s important to get it right. By sharing our advice such as ensuring a new cat has their own settling space and using blankets to get cats used to each other's scents, we hope we can support Larry and Jojo to live harmoniously whilst stalking the corridors of Number 10.”

Battersea shares its six top tips for introducing cats to one another:


Before bringing your new cat into your home, placing synthetic pheromone diffusers in your new cat’s settling room and areas of the home where your existing cat spends most of their time. These products mimic the pheromones cats leave behind when they rub their cheeks on furniture and people and can help your cats feel more secure in their environment.


It’s important to offer your new cat a quiet room, ideally one that your existing cat doesn’t use much, to allow them to settle into their new environment. The room should have everything they need within it, such as plenty of hiding spaces, a litter tray, food and water bowls and a scratching post and some toys.


Before physically introducing them, you can help your cats get to know each other through scent swapping. For example, you can place a blanket which has been used by your existing cat in your new cat’s settling room a few days before their arrival to help them familiarise themselves. The cats will investigate the blankets in their own time, but you can also put a few treats around the blanket to build up positive associations. Be sure to keep the blankets away from both cats’ main resources, like their food and water bowls. 

To help establish your new cat as a familiar presence to your existing pet, you can also spread your new cat’s scent around your home by gently stroking their cheeks with a soft cloth and then rub it on vertical surfaces and furniture at a cat’s height.


Before letting your cats meet or see each other, it’s a good idea to let your new cat get used to the rest of your home beyond their settling room in advance. This should be done when your existing cats are outside or not around, so that your new cat can familiarise themselves with their surroundings.


Once your new cat is settled in their room, it’s time to visually introduce both cats to one another. With your new cat remaining in their room, start by slightly opening the door and securing it with a door wedge so they can see one another. You can observe how they react to each other, but make sure to supervise their interactions closely.


If both cats appear to be comfortable and curious after a few visual introductions, you can fully open the door and allow them to meet under your supervision. You should never force your cats to interact and if they ignore one another or appear disinterested, this is a good sign. To prevent them from fixating on one another, you can offer them treats or toys as a distraction.

If their supervised meetings go well, you can allow your cats to interact on their own. Make sure to keep your new cat’s settling room for them throughout this process, so that they can retreat to their own safe space if they feel overwhelmed.

For more tips and advice about caring for your cat, as well as further introducing your pets to one another, visit the Battersea website for more information: 


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Notes to editors  

  • At Battersea we offer our love and expert care to dogs and cats who need us by rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals at our centres, and by sharing our knowledge and resources with rescue organisations around the world. We do this because we want to help every dog and cat, everywhere.  
  • In 2023 Battersea directly cared for 2,529 dogs and 2,450 cats at our three centres. We also helped thousands more through campaigning work, supporting other rescues and animal welfare advocates, and sharing knowledge and advice with pet owners. 
  • Battersea has three centres based in London; Old Windsor, Berkshire; and Brands Hatch, Kent. 
  • To find out more visit our website or follow Battersea on X @battersea_, Instagram @battersea or