The four-year-old tabby became the latest in a long line of political appointees to suffer the pain of anonymous briefings when insiders complained that he had failed to deliver on a pledge to tackle Whitehall’s vermin problem.
One source told a Sunday newspaper that Larry had done little but sleep since his arrival from Battersea Cats and Dogs home 10 days ago, stirring occasionally to scratch passing officials. Larry had even left hair on the Prime Minister’s suits, the anonymous briefer complained.
"He has shown no interest in the many mice in Downing Street," a source told the Independent on Sunday. "There is a distinct lack of killer instinct."
A senior Downing Street spokesman leapt to defend the cat from the anonymous slurs, pointing out that it was far too soon to expect the rat catcher in chief to have fulfilled his brief.
In fact, Larry has only just begun to explore his new home at No 10, and will not be allowed outside the building, where the rats were seen, to the alarm of television news crews, for more than a week in case he takes flight and runs away.
One aide said that Larry had been “expressing an interest” in moving beyond the small suite of rooms he has been confined to while he gets his bearings.
He added: “Larry is a very popular member of staff. It’s true that he slept for his first two days at Downing Street, but he had been through quite an ordeal moving into a new home.
“Like all cats, he does still sleep a bit, but he is certainly a lot perkier than he was when he arrived.
“He’s keen to move out of the small area where he is kept and begin exploring, but he’s not allowed to go outside yet.”