UK Parliament not to appoint cat to tackle rodents

The members of the House of Commons in UK have decided not to appoint an official cat to tackle the British Parliament's mice problem after an unusual debate over the issue.

PTI| Last Updated: Oct 25, 2014, 00:37 AM IST

London: The members of the House of Commons in UK have decided not to appoint an official cat to tackle the British Parliament's mice problem after an unusual debate over the issue.

A report into the matter concluded that such is the size of Parliament's mice problem that a "herd of cats" would be needed, creating obvious logistical issue, said a Liberal Democrat MP John Thurso.

"The idea has a clear appeal and has therefore been given a full and proper consideration by the House authorities," Thurso said yesterday.

"However, following that consideration there are very clear practical and technical difficulties and this has led to a decision not to accept the generous offer," he added.

Backing Thurso's move, Tory MP Anne McIntosh said, "It is a matter of fact the mice population is spiraling out of control, particularly in areas where food is being prepared, which obviously poses a clear health hazard."

"Would you review the decision and on the same model as Number 10 and 11 (Downing Street) to keep the mice population under control, we would consider having a rescue cat released in the evenings?" he questioned.

"If mice can be close to the source of food and pose a health hazard, one would think it would be perfectly sensible to introduce a cat to keep the mouse population down," he added.

But Thurso said there would be problems, "You have made reference to the significant rodent problem in this place and measures are being taken to combat that through pest control.

"With regards to the possibility of a cat, given the scale and size of the estate it would be necessary to have a great number of cats to make any real impact," Thurso added.

"Having a herd of cats on the Parliamentary estate would present a number of difficulties. I am advised by my own chief whip that herding cats is quite difficult," he said.

The MPs finally concluded that the large scale problem would require many more than just one cat which would pose very practical difficulties, so no cats are to be appointed in the Palace of Westminster, The Telegraph reported.

The comments follow suggestions that Battersea Dogs and Cats Home could provide Westminster with a stray cat to kill the mice running rampant across Westminster's mainly Victorian buildings.