Sybil the Cat Takes Up Residence on Downing Street

For the first time in a decade, a cat moves back into the famous building.

Posted: October 15 2007 6 p.m. EDT

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A cat is back on Downing Street. When Chancellor Alistair Darling and his wife, Margaret, moved into the flat above 10 Downing Street, they brought their black-and-white cat, Sybil, thereby introducing a cat into the building for the first time in 10 years, The Independent reports.

Sybil follows in the “paw-steps” of Humphrey, who lived on Downing Street during the terms served by Margaret Thatcher and John Major. Sybil’s job title at Downing Street, like the cats who came before her, is “official mouser.”

Cats have been part of Downing Street for some time. Humphrey was preceded by Wilberforce, who moved into the residence in 1970, serving under Harold Wilson, James Callaghan and Margaret Thatcher.

Humphrey “retired” soon after the Blairs arrived at Downing Street in 1997. Rumors circulated that Mrs. Blair was allergic to Humphrey, but the Blairs contend that the cat was simply too old to chase mice.

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