The Department for Work and Pensions is in the early stages of recruiting a chief mouser, it has confirmed.
A DWP spokesperson told CSW “the conversation has started” about adopting a cat to keep the mouse population down at Caxton House.
Government cats – who are brought into departments to control pests – are adopted from rescue shelters and are fed and cared for by volunteers.
The new recruit would bring the number of mousers stationed in government’s Whitehall offices to six.
No.10 mascot Larry was the first to be recruited in 2011 from Battersea Dogs and Cats Home. He was joined by his Foreign Office rival Palmerston and Treasury cat Gladstone in 2016.
The same year, the Cabinet Office adopted mother and son duo Evie and Ossie from the Celia Hammond Animal Trust. Evie was promoted last year to become the face of the Government Equalities Office.
Last month it was announced that Gladstone was taking a break from his Treasury duties and was being cared for by a civil servant.
The announcement followed the news that Palmerston had returned to work after a six-month absence that had prompted much speculation among concerned Foreign Office employees.
On his return, staff at the department were given a strict set of instructions to follow to ensure his wellbeing after it emerged he had been put on “stress leave” because he had been over-grooming.
The “Palmerston Protocols” – announced by permanent secretary Sir Simon McDonald – banned anyone except the cat’s official volunteer carers from feeding him and instructed staff to respect his personal space.
“He has full choice and control of who he deigns to greet or imperiously ignores,” the perm sec said.