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Humphrey bows out of office

By Robert Dean

Humphrey, the black and white stray cat who ended up residing with three different Prime Ministers during his tenure at Downing Street, has said his final feline farewell.

It was announced on 20th March that Humphrey had passed on after living for the last nine years at the home of a civil servant, following his alleged ousting from Number 10 by Cherie Blair in 1997, not long after Labour came to power.

Humphrey took up residence in Downing Street in 1989 and quickly became part of the fixtures and fittings, with his role quickly established as Government Vermin Eradicator.

Margaret Thatcher was his first employer before John Major succeeded her in 1990. However, in 1997, after Humphrey had seen his own stay in No. 10 outlast that of the then Conservative leader, New Labour came into power and Humphrey’s days in Downing Street were numbered.

Cherie Blair with Humphrey the Downing Street cat.

Rumours of Humphrey’s untimely demise began to circulate in the press when he hadn’t been spotted for some weeks, culminating in suggestions that he had been put down because Prime Minister’s wife Cherie Blair was allergic to cats. These scurrilous stories were swiftly dispelled when he appeared in the papers alive and well, accompanied by lighthearted suggestions that he had been catnapped.

More prosaically, Humphrey had been sent away to lead an altogether quiter, less public life at the home of a civil servant, and it was there that he passed away at what is thought to have been the age of 18.