Palmerston takes up office again as Westminster welcomes its second Battersea cat

12 APRIL 2016

Five years after Larry made himself at home at 10 Downing Street, a new Battersea cat is being welcomed into the heart of British politics tomorrow (Wednesday 13 April at 1pm).

Named after former Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary, Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston, this black and white moggy is fittingly being rehomed to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office to stalk the corridors in search of mice.

In a true rags to riches story Palmerston will take his new position in the Foreign Office, having arrived at Battersea Dogs & Cats Home in March as a neglected stray. The two year old domestic short hair was found wandering the streets of London, and like many of the 1025 stray cats brought into the world-famous rescue centre last year he was found hungry, underweight, and with no microchip, meaning his previous owners could not be traced.

Palmerston can now look forward to greeting international visitors and diplomats, befriending fellow political puss Larry, and most importantly, setting his sights on the rodent population of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, based next door to Downing Street. His political namesake Lord Palmerston served in Government for 46 years and became enormously popular thanks to his assertive foreign policy, and Battersea believes the new Palmerston will be just as confident in his approach. 

Battersea’s Head of Catteries, Lindsey Quinlan 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.”  

Palmerston will follow in the footsteps of Freya, once owned by Chancellor George Osborne who was a regular visitor to the Foreign Office. When he’s not patrolling the corridors of power he will be residing in the office of Sir Simon McDonald, Permanent Under-Secretary, or PUS. He’ll have access to most offices and official rooms and will be looked after by members of staff.

Simon McDonald, Permanent Under-Secretary of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said:
“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.”   

Last year Battersea rehomed 3,107 cats all across the UK, with around nine cats leaving for new homes every day of the year. The animal charity now rehomes more cats than dogs, and runs an annual Purr Minister competition to crown the top cat in Westminster. This year’s Purr Minister was won by Pixie and Smudge, owned by Steve Reed MP for Croydon North.


For more information and images please contact 020 7627 9294 or email 

Notes to Editors

  • Larry the cat was rehomed to 10 Downing Street in February 2011.
  • Battersea started taking in cats in 1883 and changed its name to Battersea Dogs & Cats Home in 2002.
  • Established in 1860, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home aims never to turn away a dog or cat in need of our help, caring for them until their owners or loving new homes can be found, no matter how long it takes. We are champions for, and supporters of, vulnerable dogs and cats, determined to create lasting changes for animals in our society.  
  • Since it was founded, Battersea has rescued, reunited and rehomed over 3.1 million dogs and cats. 
  • Battersea cares for an average of 260 dogs and 220 cats across its three centres at any one time. 
  • There is no time limit on how long an animal can stay at the charity but the average stay for a dog is 30 days and 22 days for a cat.
  • In 2015 27% of dogs and 30% of cats arrived as strays. 
  • In addition to the site in South West London, the Home also has two other centres based at Old Windsor, Berkshire and Brands Hatch, Kent. 
  • Follow Battersea on Twitter @BDCH or