Larry the Downing Street cat barred from PM's flat

Larry the cat has been banned from the private living quarters at 10 Downing Street. A spokesman says the four-year-old tabby should not be locked in the flat but instead be available to catch rodents in other areas of Prime Minister David Cameron's official residence.
Larry the tabby cat sits at the bottom of the stairs at 10 Downing Street in London. (Mark Large/Reuters)

Larry the cat is no longer welcome to set paw in the private living quarters at 10 Downing Street, apparently because if he hangs out there, he won't be able to catch rodents elsewhere in Prime Minister David Cameron's official residence.

The four-year-old male feline was brought in last February to be chief rat-catcher.

But now a Downing Street spokesman says it's not practical to keep him in the flat behind locked doors, that it's better to let him circulate and have access to mice and rats.

"David and his children are very keen on Larry," the spokesman said. "But it is a flat within an office so it is difficult."

Last month, Cameron threw a fork at a mouse spotted running across the floor during a dinner with cabinet ministers, raising questions about whether Larry was doing his job.

The ban came to light after details were released regarding renovations to the upstairs living quarters. The Camerons spent more than £30,000 ($48,000 Cdn) of their own money on the makeover, estimated to have cost  £64,000 ($102,000 Cdn).