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Britain Gets New PM but Larry the Downing Street Cat Stays

Britain’s new prime minister Theresa May will move into her official residence at 10 Downing Street Wednesday, but Larry the cat is staying put.
Larry the cat, the official resident cat of the Prime Minister, sits on the steps of 10 Downing Street.Alastair Grant / AP

LONDON — Britain’s new leader Theresa May will move into her official residence at 10 Downing Street Wednesday as Prime Minister David Cameron moves out, but one member of his team is staying put: Larry the cat.

The brown and white tabby is deemed to be a government worker and will continue to live at the famous address even after his boss packs his bags, officials said.

Image: Larry

The four-legged resident becomes one of the few British political figures to have survived the turmoil of last month's Brexit referendum.

Cameron, who quit hours after the vote, will depart sometime Wednesday with his wife, Samantha. They have lived above the famous black door for six years.

Larry is the latest in a line of felines tasked with keeping Downing Street free of rodents. He arrived in 2011 from the London’s Battersea Dogs and Cats Home for rescued animals.

“Larry is staying. He’s very much the Downing Street cat, not the Camerons’ personal cat,” Cabinet Office spokesman Benjamin Oliver told NBC News, adding: “He is a Downing Street legend.”

Although Larry comes with the residence, May will get to choose the new ministers in her cabinet. She was appointed Monday by members of her ruling Conservative party after her only opponent in a leadership contest withdrew.

Image: Larry the cat
Larry the cat patrols outside 10 Downing Street, the British prime minister's official residence.ODD ANDERSEN / AFP - Getty Images

The tradition of Downing Street cats dates back to the 1800s, according to the U.K.'s National Archive. Larry’s most recent predecessor, Humphrey, was retired in 1997 — reportedly at the request of Tony Blair’s wife, Cherie.

In April, Larry gained some company in the form of another government cat, named Palmerston after Britain’s 19th century foreign minister and PM, Lord Palmerston. His job is to patrol the neighboring Foreign Office — earning him the title “diplomog” — and he has an official twitter account.

The high political tension since Brexit vote was further evident late Monday when Larry and Palmerston had a very loud disagreement about matters of state that was overhead by political reporters and television news crews gathered outside 10 Downing Street.