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10 in the country, where he apparently devoted his time to dominating a large dog!

He died in his sleep on and gained numerous appreciative obituaries in the press.

It was Humphrey who really brought the position of resident mouser at Downing Street to the public's attention.

He was a stray, long-haired, black-and-white cat who became one of the most popular and admired cats in Great Britain.

-click thumbnails for enlargements (Java Script should be enabled), but please allow all images to load before doing so, or some may not display (if this happens, use Refresh from your toolbar to reload the page) There is a history of resident cats in the British 'corridors of power', including the prime minister's residence, the War Office, the Home Office, the Cabinet Office, the Foreign Office and the Treasury, dating as far back as the time of Henry VIII, when Cardinal Wolsey was his Chancellor of the Exchequer.

The National Archives apparently has files dating from the 1920s from the Cabinet Office, the Cabinet War Rooms (where one mouser was called Jumbo), the Treasury and the Home Office with details about the appointment and subsistence allowances for various 'Chief Mousers'.

Wilberforce was just a kitten when he arrived from the Hounslow branch of the RSPCA in 1973 during Prime Minister Edward Heath's tenure.

He was appointed the Office Manager's cat, with a suitable living allowance.

When he died the employees had a collection to pay for him to be stuffed and preserved for posterity, and in this guise he appeared at the Imperial War Museum's Animals' War exhibition in 2007.

He seemed quite unfazed by photocalls, and paid scant attention to politicians, heads of state or even royalty — it's reported that King Hussein of Jordan was once kept waiting while a police officer removed Humphrey from the welcoming red carpet. His life was not without incident, though, and when US President Bill Clinton came to visit, Humphrey apparently narrowly escaped being run over by the two-ton, armoured, presidential Cadillac, which naturally he had decided to investigate.

Then in 1994, during John Major's tenure, he was accused of killing baby robins in the No.

We haven't been able to find out his real name; apparently he was nicknamed the Munich Mouser, somewhat disrespectfully, by Churchill as he was a holdover from former Prime Minister Chamberlain's administration.

He was, though, treated with great kindness, as Churchill was very fond of cats.