Larry the cat at number 10 Downing Street is spraying urine to mark territory on the arrival of Dilyn the dog

Not long ago, the world, including me, reported on the arrival of the new dog companion of Carrie Symonds and Boris Johnson at number 10 Downing Street. He is a long-haired Jack Russell and he looks adorable. We also reported that there may be a problem in this large building, which is the offices of the Prime Minister of the UK, with the resident cat whose name is Larry. He has been there a long time and been resident through three prime ministers. He knows his territory and he owns it.

Larry and Dilyn
Larry and Dilyn. Photo credit: Deposit Photos | BBC
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When you introduce a new dog or cat into such an environment you risk stresses being set up and in this case Larry is stressed. We are told in The Times that there is a noticeable whiff of cat piss in the air at number 10 Downing Street nowadays. This would be amusing except for the fact that it is quite serious both for Larry, the many people who work there and the VIP guests who visit.

“Larry has been making his mark all over the house. The smell of cat piss is palpable.”

If there’s blame to be allocated to someone it must be to Boris Johnson and his girlfriend Carrie Symonds. I suspect, and I have no evidence of this, that Carrie Symonds was the prime mover and shaker in adopting Dilyn. She loves dogs and animals I believe. She also is very concerned with animal welfare and the environment. All great qualities but I’m afraid they’ve been slightly short-sighted in this instance. Perhaps they were aware of the possibilities. I don’t know.

The problem is that it is quite difficult to resolve this problem. If a cat is of that nature by which I mean less inclined to get along with a new companion animal, he may adapt to it in time, and I’m sure that that is the expectation and what they’re hoping for, but he might not adapt that well in the long term.

Larry was plucked from obscurity from the Battersea Dogs & Cats Home to live at number 10 when David Cameron was prime minister in 2011. He’s made it known to people that he is quite territorial as is typical of domestic cats who are free roaming because he has clashed over the years with Palmerston the resident cat in the Foreign & Commonwealth Office next door. This caused urine marking too as I recall.

In fact, Larry was chosen for his mouse catching qualities. I think he had a rather wild background before becoming a rescue cat at Battersea. The point I’m making is that on the spectrum of domestication he probably leans towards the independent compared to other cats who are more thoroughly domesticated.

We will have to watch this space to see how things develop. It is also reported that Dilyn has been trying to have sex with Bailey a cavapoo bitch owned by Sergey Javid who works at number 11. The pair (of dogs!) have been separated on several occasions in the number 10 garden. Boris Johnson likes to walk his dog around the rose garden in his boxer shorts apparently.

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