UK Parliament Rejects Cat Mouser

The UK Parliament has thrown away a good opportunity to raise the profile of MPs and cats.

The British Parliament (Palace of Westminster), described as “the mother of all parliaments”, has rejected the idea of adopting one, or perhaps, two rescue cats as mousers to keep down and control the rodent population within the palace, especially in areas where food is prepared on the estate.

The proposal by an MP, Anne McIntosh, was rejected because it was thought that a large number of domestic cats would be required because the area upon which Parliament stands is quite large. It was decided that a large number of cats would be impractical and I agree with that.

The question is, do we agree that a large number of cats, described as a “herd of cats”, is required to keep down the rodent population at the Houses of Parliament in the UK?

My first thought is that the members of Parliament who made this decision almost certainly do not know enough about the domestic cat to make a good judgement in respect of this proposal.

Parliament occupies eight acres or 3.24 hectares. The buildings contain around 1100 rooms and 4.8 kilometres of passageways.

What is the average home range of the domestic cat? A home range is the territory that a cat patrols and which he/she considers her own. It varies in size between individual cats. It could certainly cover 8 acres but most domestic cats in the UK probably remain within a smaller area of several acres at the most.

The important point, though, is the cat(s) would be full-time indoor cats for safety from traffic which is very heavy in that area. Their area of operation within the palace would be mainly the food preparation areas.

As a result I’d estimate a couple of keen mousers selected by the Battersea Dogs & Cats Home would suffice and not a “herd” as stated.

It was a proposal which was certainly worth trying because it would be a natural solution to a health problem and it would help to raise the public profile of the domestic cat.

This was an excellent opportunity to do that which would have reflected well on the Members of Parliament who are seen as not much better than used car salesmen in the UK. They missed an opportunity to raise their profile at the same time.

There is the matter of cost too. Commercial pest control companies will charge the earth to do the work at the Houses of Parliament, I’d guarantee that. Two cats would cost about £25,000 over their entire lifetime.

Pest control measures would have to be renewed frequently under a long-term contract resulting in overall costs being significantly higher over time.

This was an another missed opportunity: for MPs to demonstrate to their constituents that they are economizing in times of financial constraint. That would have been an excellent message.

MPs are unenlightened and they frequently make poor decisions. We are lead poorly. This is yet one more example.

Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

10 thoughts on “UK Parliament Rejects Cat Mouser”

  1. Ruth aka Kattaddorra

    Maybe just as well no cats will be working at Parliament as the MPs long tedious debates would probably bore them so much they’d curl up and go to sleep and catch no rodents at all
    lol lol
    Especially the Lords 😉

    1. The Lords should be closed. Total waste of taxpayers money. Toffs gravy train. I can really see a cat or two in Parliament though. They’d help to make the place more human and give it some soul. They also might remind the MPs to think of the welfare of animals a bit more.

  2. I have had cats that are very good rat catchers and cats that were not.I have a little chiwennie dog that is a good rat catcher too. Maybe they should get a dog.

  3. It’s true that some cats have a stronger predatory drive than others. Something which clearly isn’t understood by a gentleman in that video clip. Whilst Anne McIntosh was trying to speak, someone in the background kept commenting on the fact that there is already a cat at no. 10 which hasn’t solved the problem.

    They’ve obviously forgotten that David Cameron’s cat Larry was sacked from his role as “Chief Mouser to the Cabinet” because it was 6 months before he caught a single mouse and he displayed no real interest in hunting. George Osborne’s cat Freya, now has the job of patrolling nos. 10, 11 & 12 Downing Street.

    1. Thanks Michele for the info. It is all about the individual cat. Domestic cats though have probably become less and less adept at hunting because their lives have become more soft. Domestic cats are becoming more domesticated which seems to mean more like cuddly plush toys. I am sure the cats in Britain in Victorian times were better hunters.

      There is the important preventative factor too. The presence of a cat should deter mice I’d have thought.

  4. If you think that cats make good rodent control, think again.

    Your myth about cats being good rodent control has been disproved on every island where cats were imported to take care of the imported rodents. Hundreds of years later and there’s nothing but a thriving population of cats and rodents — all the native wildlife on those islands now either extinct or on the brink of extinction — even those native species which are better rodent predators than cats (such as many reptiles and shrews which destroy rodents right in their nests), the cats having destroyed them directly or indirectly. And I bet you…

    ……………..remainder deleted because he insults people.

    1. Well it is well documented that the primary prey of the domestic and feral cat is rodents. Also there is the deterrent element. The presence of a cat will deter the presence of mice.

      Don’t respond unless you can do it politely.

      1. “Remainder deleted” ONLY because it proves you DEAD WRONG. That’s not the first nor the last time you’ll stuck your head up your phenomenally useless and ignorant ass. Must remain blissfully ignorant!! Mustn’t one! Poke your own eyes out some more, that’ll help you to stop spreading your typical misinformation, deceptions, and lies — that you do so well all your life. You are the laughingstock of the world today.

      2. Michael: according to the Guinness Book of World Records;

        “The most prolific mouser is a female tortoiseshell cat named Towser (b. 21 April 1963), owned by Glenturret Distillery Ltd near Crieff, Perth and Kinross, UK that notched up an estimated 28,899 mice. She averaged three mice per day until her death on 20 March 1987.”

        Maybe if Parliament had a couple of Towsers the rodent problem would soon be resolved.

        Or maybe the “honourable” gentlemen are concerned they may become the prey if the cats prefer catching rats instead of mice 😉

        1. That is a very clever last sentence. I liked that. I think Towser disproves Woody’s theory that cats are poor mousers. Some are poor but some are very active and successful hunters. Battersea Dogs and Cats Home would hopefully have been able to select the best in their care.

          In typical fashion MPs are generally going to prefer dogs I suspect. They are probably scared of cats and don’t understand them.

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