In the bustling corridors of power, where political animals of a different sort usually roam, Larry, the Downing Street Cat, has been a purring constant for almost a decade – and outlasted the terms of no fewer than five Prime Ministers.
As Larry, now 16, shakes off recent reports of ill health, The London Cat Clinic offers insights into the ‘official mouser’s’ senior care and how he can form furry friendships with resident dogs, including Nova, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Labrador Retriever.
Larry was initially adopted from Battersea in 2011 as a pet for David Cameron’s children. However, he stayed on in his current, VIP mouser role when Mr Cameron stepped down in 2016. The Downing Street website says: “Larry spends his days greeting guests to the house, inspecting security defences, and testing antique furniture for napping quality.”
Larry and Nova: The Paw-litical Alliance
Despite whispers of retirement, Larry remains a steadfast figure at 10 Downing Street. But every seasoned politician knows the importance of alliances. Enter Nova, the Lab with a flair for leadership. “It’s a classic case of fur diplomacy,” says Dr Jeremy Campbell, Clinical Director at The London Cat Clinic. “Larry’s experience and wisdom paired with Nova’s youthful energy make for a dynamic duo in Downing Street.”
Senior Care for a Senior Statescat
At the distinguished age of 16, Larry’s health is a priority. “Super Senior cats like Larry require special care, and our Feline Fine Health Plan is designed precisely for such distinguished felines,” Dr Campbell explains. Eminent kitties like Larry often adopt a stiff upper lip in concealing any aches and pains, so prevention is key.
The London Cat Clinic’s health plan includes all preventative healthcare treatments, six- and 12-month health assessments all of which are essential to spot early signs of disease and keep our felines feeling fine. Importantly, the plan also includes blood and urine testing to look for evidence of disease that might not be apparent from the health assessment alone; all of which ensures that Larry continues to prowl the corridors of power in tip-top shape.
Fostering Feline-Canine Amity
Working hand in paw with The London Cat Clinic, Charlie Edmonds, a renowned Veterinary Behaviourist at the London Vet Behaviour Clinic, says: “integrating a cat and a dog is not purely about letting them just ‘sort it out’, as these two animals have different needs. However, with patience and proper steps, they can often learn to coexist peacefully.”
Here, Charlie shares his tips for creating a harmonious relationship between cats and dogs:
Gradual Introduction: Introduce the cat and dog to each other slowly. Start by keeping them in separate rooms and let them familiarise with each other’s scent by swapping toys or bedding. Then, provide visual exposure without direct contact using a baby gate or slightly open door, and gradually increase their time together.
Positive Reinforcement: It’s essential to associate each pet with positive experiences. Reward both the cat and dog with treats, praise, and affection when they behave calmly around each other. Avoid using punishments like shouting or spraying water, as these can induce fear and obstruct peaceful co-existence.
Supervision: Always monitor their interactions, especially in the early phases. During initial meetings, it’s advisable to keep the dog on a leash or harness to prevent any chasing behaviour, given that chasing can be a natural instinct for dogs.
Safe Spaces: Both pets should have their individual safe havens. Cats usually lean towards high perches or hidden areas, while dogs might require their distinct zones. For maintaining tranquillity, it’s a good idea to have these retreat spaces in different rooms.
Patience and Time: Understand that the integration process can vary in duration, sometimes spanning weeks or even months. Allow the pets to adjust in their own time, and if challenges continue, seeking a health check from a vet might be advised.
As Larry and Nova continue to navigate their cohabitation, The London Cat Clinic remains committed to providing exemplary care and guidance. After all, in a world where political landscapes shift rapidly, perhaps there’s solace in the steady purr of a senior cat and the wag of a friendly dog, reminding us of all the enduring power of companionship and understanding.