Job Description: cats required with a history of frequent and successful mouse hunting at the Houses of Parliament, Central London. This is a genuine working role. You will not be deemed to be a “pet” as pets are forbidden in the mother of all Parliaments on the shores of the Thames.
One Member of Parliament (MP) keeps a pet tarantula on his desk in a glass cage. He is the Chief Whip. His pet reminds him to be firm with those in his charge. He is in breach of the rules on keeping pets but refuses to comply.
On that basis, can the authorities who make up the rules governing the day-to-day lives of the MPs working in the Houses of Parliament reconsider allowing working cats to make this venerable establishment their home?
Britain’s Houses of Parliament desperately needs resident cats. They currently use baits and poisons I suppose to try to keep down the large number of mice, the population size of which is growing year-on-year.
MP Anne McIntosh said:
“The mice population is spiralling out of control — particularly in areas where food is being prepared, which obviously poses a clear health hazard..”
She firmly recommends cats! It is strange that this suggestion has been rejected when the Treasury, the Foreign Office and No 10 Downing St (the PM’s office) have resident cats. These buildings are just down the road from the Houses of Parliament. And Brits love their cats.
The counter argument is that because of the enormous size of Parliament you’d need a herd of cats to control mice and it is all but impossible to control a herd of cats. I get the argument.
However, you don’t really need to control the cats; more simply look after them in terms of health, safety and food (other than the mice they eat).
Also you don’t need to try and eradicate the entire mice population. You could hire three cats and let them at least control to a limited extent the mice population. This would be a sensible compromise.
Employing cats as mice hunters in Parliament would be wonderful. It would raise the profile of this most popular of “pets” and remind the citizens of Great Britain that the domestic cat is not only a great companion but useful too.
I personally love the idea of working cats. It is good for the cat in terms of public image and for the individual cats because they need structure in their lives just like people. There are too many bored cats.
P.S. Peers working in the House of Lords (the second chamber of Parliament) have been told to ensure that they don’t drop crumbs on the floor to minimise attracting mice. The House of Lords is made up of geriatrics. Geriatrics tend to eat messily.
£110,000 was spent on tackling mice and vermin in Parliament 2014-15. There is a full-time technician. Still the mice numbers climb. Bring in the cats.
P.P.S. The Houses of Parliament are disintegrating. They need £4bn’s (£4,000,000,000,000) worth of refurbishments. And the clock tower leans like the Leaning Tower of Pisa.