London: The British Foreign Office has hired a cat to wage war on mice inside the iconic building in Whitehall, nearly five years after 10, Downing Street employed a feline to kill rats in the Prime Minister's home.
Appointed as the Chief Mouser, two-year-old Palmerston will be living at one of the country's most famous addresses among the UK's top diplomats and ministers. Foreign Office bosses has been quick to point out he will be no burden on the taxpayer.
"Palmerston's domestic posting will have zero cost to the public purse as a staff kitty will be used to pay for him and all aspects of his welfare."
The Foreign Office statement also said: "Palmerston is Her Majesty Diplomatic Service's newest arrival and in the role of FCO Chief Mouser will assist our pest controllers in keeping down the number of mice in our King Charles Street building.
"We have worked closely with Battersea Dogs and Cats Home on Palmerston's deployment and they have inspected his new home, as they do for all potential new owners of their rescue cats." The cat with short hair was found wandering the streets of London. He was hungry, underweight, and had no microchip, meaning his previous owners could not be traced, the BBC reported.
Battersea's Head of Catteries, Lindsey Quinlan told Newsbeat: "He's a very confident cat, loves being with people, and enjoys a good chin rub. "If his behaviour at Battersea is anything to go by, we predict Palmerston will be a formidable feline, very deserving of his new name."
There are a number of cats living in important government buildings, many of which are old and full of mice. The cat is apparently named after Viscount Palmerston, who was foreign secretary almost 200 years ago before twice serving as Prime Minister.
In 2011, the British Prime Minister's home, Number 10 Downing Street, had employed a cat named 'Larry' to kill rats. Like Palmerston, he is a rescue cat from Battersea Cats and Dogs Home in London. Prime Minister David Cameron had said that Larry was working hard as a "mouser" and had been busy dealing with Number 10's rodent infestation.
He also said Larry did not generally like men but was friendly with US President Barack Obama. Larry even has his own "unofficial" Twitter account, with 47,500 followers.