Downing Street’s biggest furry divas – Chief Mouser’s £100 salary to tragic ends

The fur is flying in Downing Street – and now Boris Johnson's dog Dilyn has been getting a ruff time.

The Jack Russell is the subject of a "hump-gate row" after being accused of jumping on former aide Dominic Cummings and getting frisky with his leg.

Dilyn is also said to be the victim of a smear campaign with claims he weed on a No10 adviser's handbag and wrecked antique furniture at the PM's country retreat Chequers.

But there's always been a-meowsing antics at Downing Street when it comes to animal residents as Daily Star reveals…

Pets have stalked the ­corridors of power since the time of Henry VIII when Cardinal Thomas ­Wolsey kept his kitty by his side when he was Lord ­Chancellor.

But modern records have the first prime ministerial cat as Rufus of England, aka Treasury Bill, who entered Downing Street in 1924.

He often brought mouse and rat carcasses to PM Ramsay MacDonald, but learning they were always thrown away, he started lining them up by the bin.

The enterprising feline even blagged a 50% rise in his food allowance after it was initially turned down.

One day he crept into Chancellor Philip Snowden’s office and the politician was so taken with him he got the motion passed in Parliament, earning Rufus his nickname of Treasury Bill.

In 1929, Rufus was joined by Peter, who was the first cat to officially hold the title of Chief Mouser.

Peter served five Prime Ministers, starting with MacDonald, followed by Stanley Baldwin, Neville Chamberlain, Winston Churchill and Clement Attlee.

While Peter was resident in No10, another moggy was introduced and nicknamed the “Munich Mouser” by Churchill.

Animal-lover Churchill had a large collection of pets including bulldog Dodo, poodle Rufus, wartime cat Nelson and marmalade tom Jock.

But it was Rufus who had a special place in the leader’s heart and was at Churchill’s side as he steered the country through World War Two.

He once tried to join his master in a Cabinet Room meeting but Churchill told him kindly: “No, Rufus, I haven’t found it necessary to ask you to join the War Cabinet.”

Rufus not only dined with the family but was served first. Sadly he was hit by a car and died in 1947.

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The poodle had got on with cat Nelson, but the black stray forced his rival, the Munich Mouser, out of Downing Street. Churchill described Nelson as “the bravest cat I ever knew” and named him after the famous admiral.

There were two more Peters who followed the original Chief Mouser – Peter II only lasted six months before being hit by a car in Whitehall but Peter III held the post for an incredible 17 years, serving Attlee, Churchill in his second term as PM, Anthony Eden, Harold Macmillan, and Alec Douglas-Home.

Attlee also had an Airedale terrier called Ting. When Peter III had to be put down in 1964 following a liver infection, it was pedigree Manx cat Peta who was next in line, sent by the Lieutenant Governor of the Isle of Man.

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The first female cat to be Chief Mouser, Peta was not a favourite with staff who described her as “fat and lazy in her habits, and somewhat incontinent” but was popular with the public.

In 1969, civil servants tried to remove her but the plan was scrapped over fears of a public backlash.

It later emerged she had been quietly retired to the home of a civil servant.

When Harold Wilson got the top job in 1964, he brought his pet Siamese cat Nemo to No10.

Nemo was often found brawling with his rivals and Wilson’s wife Mary once ended up with sepsis from a scratch she suffered while breaking up a catfight.

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The office of Chief Mouser was subsequently filled by Wilberforce, who was adopted from the RSPCA in 1973 while Edward Heath was PM.

The black and white puss was a top rodent catcher and after Heath he served under Wilson, James Callaghan and Margaret Thatcher. Mrs Thatcher even bought him a tin of sardines from a supermarket in Moscow.

Wilberforce retired in 1986, went to live with a No10 caretaker in the countryside and died in his sleep in 1988.

Humphrey, who was named after a character in sitcom Yes Minister, took over between 1989 and 1997 and was very popular with the public. He was paid £100 a year, which Thatcher ­approved of as it was far cheaper than hiring a pest controller.

But Humphrey was the subject of false slurs – such as when he was accused of killing baby robins.

Then-PM John Major stuck up for him insisting: “It is quite certain that Humphrey is not a serial killer” – and later it emerged the story had been made up.

The moggy also once narrowly avoided calamity when he was ­almost run over by visiting US president Bill Clinton’s two-ton ­armoured Cadillac.

When Tony Blair took power in 1997, there were rumours wife Cherie disliked Humphrey, and he left Downing Street for a new home with an elderly couple.

There was no new Chief Mouser until 2007, when Alistair Darling, then Chancellor, brought cat Sybil to Downing Street. She died at Darling’s home in Edinburgh in 2009.

With no ­feline foe, rodents started to multiply.

A rat was spotted outside the front door of No10, while Prime Minister David Cameron once threw a fork at a mouse during a Cabinet meeting.

Cameron recruited rescue cat Larry in 2011, and last week the  brown and white tabby, who is classed as a civil servant, ­celebrated 10 years as Chief Mouser.

He got on well with Chancellor George Osborne’s dog Lola but otherwise developed a reputation for violence – fighting the Osborne family cat, Freya, and f­ormer Foreign Office moggy Palmerston, who retired last year.

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