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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Sybil, the new Downing St. cat

Downing Street has a cat in residence once more. Her name is Sybil, a black and white moggy owned by the Chancellor, Alistair Darling, and his wife. The cat lives with them in their flat above 10 Downing Street, but has been granted full access to the whole building, in order to carry out her mousing duties.

There had been official mousers in residence at Downing Street for several generations, until the arrival of Tony and Cherie Blair, in 1997. The cat-in-residence at the time, Humphrey, was quickly pensioned off. He spent his twilight years in south London, until his death in March 2006.

Cherie Blair was seen as the villain of the piece. She was rumoured to either suffer an allergy to cats, or to have considered Humphrey a health hazard. Humphrey's banishment caused uproar. Even the dreaded Mrs. Thatcher had tolerated the poor chap. But not Cherie Blair. Gordon Brown and his wife Sarah are believed to have no objections whatsoever to Sybil's presence. You can read more about Sybil, and see her photograph here.

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