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Humphrey (Cat)
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Animal
    (circa 1988-March 2006)
    Born in United Kingdom
    Mouser at the Prime Minister's residence, Number 10 Downing Street (1989-97)
    He was accused of killing four robin chicks nesting outside Prime Minister John Major's window (June, 1994) and savaging a duck in St. James Park (September, 1994).
    He went missing for three months and was declared dead by the press office before turning up at the Royal Army Medical College, where he had been taken in as a stray (1995).
    In response to rumors of bad blood between the cat and Tony Blair's wife Cherie, a spokesman declared that Number 10 Downing 'is Humphrey's home and, as far as the Blairs are concerned, it will remain his home.'
    He then retired six months later, officially for health reasons.
    Conservative MP Alan Clark accused the Blairs of having had Humphrey shot.
    To settle the issue, a group of journalists were taken to a secret location in London to see the cat, and ran pictures of Humphrey posing with the day's newspapers (November 24, 1997).
    No doubt coincidentally, another cat would not be appointed mouser until Gordon Brown became Prime Minister in 2007.
    He was named after the character Humphrey Appleby from the sitcom 'Yes Minister.'
    Major defended him on the charge of killing the robins, declaring 'I am afraid Humphrey has been falsely accused.'
    Despite suspicions about the timing of his retirement, he had been suffering kidney problems since 1993, when he was put on a special diet and staffers were banned from feeding him treats.
    He cost 100 pounds a year for food, making him a much better bargain than the government's official pest controller who charged 4,000 pounds a year and reportedly never caught a mouse.

Credit: C. Fishel


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