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Encyclopedia > Humphrey (cat)

Humphrey (c. 1988 – March 2006) was a cat employed as a mouser at 10 Downing Street from October 1989 to 13 November 1997. Arriving as a one-year old stray, he served under the premierships of Margaret Thatcher, John Major and Tony Blair, but retired a few months after the Blairs moved in to Downing Street. He was the successor to Wilberforce. He was frequently referred to in jest by the Press as an actual employee at Number 10. Binomial name Felis catus Linnaeus, 1758 Synonyms Felis lybica invalid junior synonym The cat (or domestic cat, house cat) is a small carnivorous mammal. ... Prime Minister Tony Blair and U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney stand in front of the famous main door to Number 10. ... November 13 is the 317th day of the year (318th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar, with 48 days remaining. ... 1997 (MCMXCVII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, LG, OM, PC (born October 13, 1925), former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, in office from 1979 to 1990. ... Sir John Major, KG, CH, PC (born 29 March 1943) was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and leader of the British Conservative Party from 1990 to 1997. ... For other people of the same name, see Tony Blair (disambiguation) Anthony Charles Lynton Blair (born May 6, 1953)[1] is the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, Leader of the Labour Party, and Member of Parliament for the constituency... Wilberforce was a cat who lived at 10 Downing Street between 1973 and 1987 and served under 4 British Prime Ministers, including Edward Heath, Harold Wilson, Jim Callaghan and Margaret Thatcher. ...

Contents

Start of employment

Humphrey was found as a stray by a Cabinet Office civil servant and named in honour of Sir Humphrey Appleby, the archetypal civil servant of Yes Minister and Yes, Prime Minister. After the death of the previous mouser, Wilberforce, in 1988 the Cabinet Office and Number 10 were in need of a replacement and so Humphrey began his work. The Cabinet Office is a United Kingdom government department. ... Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ... Sir Humphrey Appleby, on the left, giving directions to the Minister as usual Sir Humphrey Appleby, GCB (April 5, 1929 – December 26, 2001)[1] is one of the three main characters of the 1980s British sitcom Yes, Minister and its sequel, Yes, Prime Minister. ... Yes Minister is a satirical British sitcom written by Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn that was first transmitted by BBC television and radio between 1980 and 1984. ... Wilberforce was a cat who lived at 10 Downing Street between 1973 and 1987 and served under four British Prime Ministers: Edward Heath, Harold Wilson, Jim Callaghan and Margaret Thatcher. ...


At a cost of about £100 a year (paid for from the Cabinet Office's budget), most of which went toward food, Humphrey was said to be of considerably better value than the Cabinet's professional pest controller, who charged £4,000 a year and is reported to have never caught a mouse. Frequently pictured posing by the famous Number 10 front door, Humphrey's primary duties involved catching mice and rats in the maze of Downing Street buildings. The poor quality of the buildings, some of which date from the 18th century, and the nearby St. James's Park ensure a continuous vermin problem. By the time of his retirement, Humphrey had risen to the position of Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office. Feral mouse A mouse (plural mice) is a rodent that belongs to one of numerous species of small mammals. ... Species 50 species; see text *Several subfamilies of Muroids include animals called rats. ... (17th century - 18th century - 19th century - more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 18th century refers to the century that lasted from 1701 through 1800. ... St. ...


Humphrey's problems

In November 1993, an internal memo was circulated in the Cabinet Office, informing staff that Humphrey was suffering from a minor kidney complaint and had been put on a special diet. A ban on feeding him treats was instituted. It has been suggested that Renal anomalies and Renal plasma threshold be merged into this article or section. ...


Humphrey was accused on 7 June 1994, of having killed four robin chicks, which were nesting in a window box outside the office of John Major, then Prime Minister. However, Major exonerated him the next day, declaring, "I am afraid Humphrey has been falsely accused." Files obtained by the Daily Telegraph refer to the allegation as "libellous" and "completely unfounded". He was found in St James' Park in September 1994 having apparently "savaged" a duck.[1] June 7 is the 158th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (159th in leap years), with 207 days remaining. ... 1994 (MCMXCIV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar, and was designated as the International Year of the Family and the International Year of the Sport and the Olympic Ideal by United Nations. ... Binomial name Erithacus rubecula (Linnaeus, 1758) Subspecies 7-10, see text. ... The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is, in practice, the political leader of the United Kingdom. ... This article deals with The Daily Telegraph in Britain, see The Daily Telegraph (Australia) for the Australian publication The Daily Telegraph is a British broadsheet newspaper founded in 1855. ... St James Park is an all-seater stadium in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, and is the home of Newcastle United Football Club. ...


In June 1995, Humphrey went missing. On 25 September 1995, the Prime Minister's press office announced his apparent death. The publicity led to his rediscovery in the nearby Royal Army Medical College, where he had been taken in as a presumed stray and named PC, short for patrol car. Upon his return, Humphrey issued a statement through the civil service stating, "I have had a wonderful holiday at the Royal Army Medical College, but it is nice to be back and I am looking forward to the new parliamentary session."[9] September 25 is the 268th day of the year (269th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1995 (MCMXCV) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


Humphrey and the Blairs

Within a week of Tony Blair moving to 10 Downing Street after the May 1997 general election, press reports of a rift between Humphrey and Cherie Blair, the new Prime Minister's wife, emerged. Mrs Blair was reported to either be allergic to cats or to believe them to be unhygienic.[2] However, a spokesperson insisted that Humphrey would not be moving out, stating that Number 10 "is Humphrey's home and, as far as the Blairs are concerned, it will remain his home". A photo of Humphrey and Mrs Blair was released, though this did little to allay fears that he would be forced out. The photo was used on the cover of Private Eye with Humphrey stating 'I am going to hit the mouse running' a paraphrase of a New Labour-ism. For other people of the same name, see Tony Blair (disambiguation) Anthony Charles Lynton Blair (born May 6, 1953)[1] is the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, Leader of the Labour Party, and Member of Parliament for the constituency... The UK general election, 1997 was held on 1 May 1997. ... Cherie Blair Cherie Blair (born 23 September 1954 in Bury, England), known professionally as Cherie Booth QC, is a prominent barrister. ... This article deals specifically with IgE-mediated hypersensitivity. ... Private eye may mean: Look up Private eye on Wiktionary, the free dictionary Private Eye a fortnightly British satirical magazine-newspaper, edited by Ian Hislop (as of 2005) A private investigator, a private detective for hire (see also crime fiction and detective fiction) Private Eye, a song by Alkaline Trio...


In November 1997, Humphrey's primary carer, Jonathan Rees, who worked in the Prime Minister's Policy Unit, wrote a memo stating that the cat should retire to "stable home environment where he can be looked after properly". While his continuing kidney problems were given as the reason for his retirement, many believed that Mrs Blair was behind the decision.


Rumours of murder

Humphrey moved to his new home with an elderly couple in suburban London on 13 November 1997, though his retirement was not announced until the next day to reduce the risk of kidnap attempts.[3] The Conservatives were quick to point out that Humphrey lived happily at Number 10 for almost eight years under a Tory government but moved out within six months of Labour taking power. This article is about the capital of England and the United Kingdom. ... November 13 is the 317th day of the year (318th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar, with 48 days remaining. ... 1997 (MCMXCVII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... The Conservative Party (officially the Conservative and Unionist Party) is the second largest political party in the United Kingdom in terms of sitting Members of Parliament (MPs), the largest in terms of public membership, and is the second oldest extant political party in the world. ...


Conservative MP Alan Clark was suspicious about the way Humphrey's retirement was announced and demanded proof that the cat was still alive: "Humphrey is now a missing person. Unless I hear from him or he makes a public appearance, I suspect he has been shot." This led to rumours that Humphrey had been put down on the orders of Mrs Blair.[4] A Member of Parliament, or MP, is a representative elected by the voters to a parliament. ... Alan Kenneth Mackenzie Clark (13 April 1928 - 5 September 1999) was a British Conservative politician, historian and diarist. ...


The Prime Minister's office insisted that veterinary advice was behind the decision to remove Humphrey from Downing Street, and on 24 November 1997 a group of journalists was taken to a secret location in south London and shown that Humphrey was still alive and well. Pictures of the cat posing with copies of the day's newspapers were published and reports indicated that he had put on weight.[5][6] November 24 is the 328th day (329th in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. ... 1997 (MCMXCVII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


In retirement

Little was heard about Humphrey over the next few years, leading many to infer that he had died. The Daily Telegraph made a Freedom of Information Act request for documents relating to him in early 2005, which led to more information about his time at Downing Street coming to light. In its March 2005 report about Humphrey, the Telegraph lamented "Where Humphrey is now - or even whether he is still with us - remains a mystery. 'I am not having much luck,' a Cabinet Office spokesman confessed last night. His official minder has not heard from him in seven years."[7] However, on 22 July 2005, The Independent reported that "the 17-year-old mouser is alive and well and living in south London."[8] No further details were given in the text, which was part of a larger feature about celebrity pets. This article concerns the British newspaper. ... See Freedom of information in the United Kingdom for a general discussion of freedom of information legislation throughout the United Kingdom. ... July 22 is the 203rd day (204th in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian calendar, with 162 days remaining. ... 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... For other uses, see The Independent (disambiguation). ... “Megastar” redirects here. ... It has been suggested that Residential pets be merged into this article or section. ...


In March 2006, a spokesman for Tony Blair reported that "Humphrey sadly died last week some time", at the home of the Cabinet Office worker that had been accommodating him.[9]


See also

Thumbelina, one of the strays Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Canada, has maintained a tradition of housing 20-40 stray cats on the property since the 1970s. ...

References

  1. ^ "Times Diary: Cat-napped", The Times, September 19, 1994. 
  2. ^ ([1]) Trappings of family life threaten Humphrey's patch, The Daily Telegraph (6 May 1997)
  3. ^ ([2]) Humphrey bids a feline farewell, BBC News Online (15 November 1997).
  4. ^ ([3]) Prove Humphrey is alive, demands Alan Clark, The Daily Telegraph, 24 November 1997.
  5. ^ ([4]) Purr-fect ending fur Humphrey!, BBC News Online, (25 November 1997).
  6. ^ ([5]) No 10 lets the cat out of the Bag, The Daily Telegraph, (25 November 1997)
  7. ^ ([6]) Humphrey... the Downing Street dossier. The Daily Telegraph, 14 March 2005
  8. ^ ([7]) Celebrity Companions: Love me, love my pet, The Independent, 22 July 2005
  9. ^ ([8]) Downing Street cat Humphrey dies, BBC News, 20 March 2006

This article concerns the British newspaper. ... May 6 is the 126th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (127th in leap years). ... 1997 (MCMXCVII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... BBC News Online logo The BBC News Website in February 2006. ... November 15 is the 319th day of the year (320th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar, with 46 days remaining. ... 1997 (MCMXCVII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... This article concerns the British newspaper. ... November 24 is the 328th day (329th in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. ... 1997 (MCMXCVII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... November 25 is the 329th (in leap years the 330th) day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1997 (MCMXCVII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... This article concerns the British newspaper. ... November 25 is the 329th (in leap years the 330th) day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1997 (MCMXCVII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... This article concerns the British newspaper. ... For the Lebanese political coalition, see March 14 Alliance. ... 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... For other uses, see The Independent (disambiguation). ... July 22 is the 203rd day (204th in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian calendar, with 162 days remaining. ... 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... The current BBC News logo BBC News and Current Affairs is a major arm of the BBC responsible for the corporations newsgathering and production of news programmes on BBC television, radio and online. ... March 20 is the 79th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (80th in leap years). ... For the Manfred Mann album, see 2006 (album). ...

External links

  • Purr-n-Fur UK: Humphrey, the Downing Street cat
  • Cats in charge: Humphrey
Preceded by
Wilberforce
10 Downing Street mouser
1989–1997
Succeeded by
None

Wilberforce was a cat who lived at 10 Downing Street between 1973 and 1987 and served under 4 British Prime Ministers, including Edward Heath, Harold Wilson, Jim Callaghan and Margaret Thatcher. ... Prime Minister Tony Blair and U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney stand in front of the famous main door to Number 10. ... Binomial name Felis catus Linnaeus, 1758 Synonyms Felis lybica invalid junior synonym The cat (or domestic cat, house cat) is a small carnivorous mammal. ...


 
 

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