Tag: United Kingdom

Sunday Cats: Larry Welcomes A New Servant To No. 10 Downing, More Cats Rescued From Ukraine

Larry the Cat, official mouser in chief at 10 Downing Street, is now on his fifth prime minister.

After the disastrous and short-lived tenure of his predecessor, Lizz Truss, new PM Rishi Sunak officially moved into the UK prime minister’s residence earlier this week — and walked right past Larry without acknowledging him:

Note the reporter doing a live broadcast, which you can hear in the background.

“He is arriving now…the new prime minister of the United Kingdom!” the reporter said as Larry padded his way down the sidewalk and stopped.

Failing to acknowledge the true power at No. 10 is an ill portend for Sunak and the UK. What kind of person doesn’t greet his boss on his first official day of work? Larry will get him sorted in short time, undoubtedly.

Big and small cats from Ukraine find homes in Poland and the US

During the opening phase of the Ukraine war, there was an Indian national webcasting from Donbas, constantly asking for money to keep his “pet jaguars” — actually leopards — safe from the advancing Russians.

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It was one of the most infuriating aspects of the young war. The guy was keeping the big cats in an apartment, referred to them as his “children” despite not even knowing their species or how to care for them, and he lied to his audience, claiming he’d purchased them from the Kyiv Zoo. He didn’t. Zoos don’t sell big cats to people. He got them on the illegal wildlife market.

I don’t know if those particular leopards are among the big cats rescued from Kyiv in recent weeks, but a new report says illegally kept pets are among the felids who were rescued from Kyiv and Odessa — two of the hardest-hit cities — and brought to sanctuaries in Poland.

That’s good news. Hopefully any remaining wild animals are taken out of the hands of private owners and put in sanctuaries where they belong. Big cats don’t belong in a war zone, and they don’t belong in private hands.

Meanwhile, Homeward Trails Animal Rescue in Washington, D.C., has house cats from Ukraine up for adoption.

Most of the little ones were rescued from warn-torn areas in the eastern part of the country, and the rest were moved from a Ukrainian shelter just in time, as the building was hit by Russian missiles shortly after the animals were cleared out. Some of the cats were found wandering amid the ruins and destruction in towns and villages that had been hit hard by the invading Russians, Homeward Trails’ Sue Bell told WTOP.

The US non-profit will continue to work with a shelter in Ukraine, which rescues cats from heavily impacted areas.

“Right now, Homeward Trails is the only organization taking cats from this new Ukraine shelter,” Bell said. “And so, for every cat that we took from the shelter, that not only gave that cat an opportunity for a home, but it created a space in that shelter for the team to go out there and bring more cats in.”

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A belated happy National Cat Day!

There are so many cat days, I lose track, so apologies for missing this one.

Happy National Cat Day to all PITB readers and your beautiful kitties! It’s a good excuse to spoil our little buddies and remind them how much we appreciate them.

Changes to PITB

You may have noticed, if you don’t have ad blockers installed on your browser, that I enabled ads in mid-September. I strongly dislike ads and I don’t like clutter on the site, but after three years of operating and publishing PITB, I decided to enable a limited number of ads in an effort to get PITB to pay for itself and hopefully a few upgrades that would be helpful in making the site more accessible, while also providing the tools to expand PITB’s content offerings.

Please send us your feedback. If you see an ad that covers the content, let me know. If you see an inappropriate ad, let me know. You should see ads for cat-related products and/or ads for things you may have expressed interest in before — due to the way ad networks use cookies and data from services you use, which is perfectly normal — but I want to make sure no one’s having a bad experience here.

Larry The Cat Defends UK Prime Minister’s Home From A Fox

Larry the Cat has been the official chief mouser at the UK’s prime minister’s home since 2011.

Now he should be bestowed with a new title — chief foxer.

The famous tabby was lounging guarding No. 10 Downing Street on a recent evening when a fox approached the property. Larry slow-walked the canid intruder back to an adjacent garden, but wasn’t satisfied when the fox lingered, so he laid the smacketh down to show foxy who was boss.

The thick-headed vulpine interloper tried a third time to get closer to the house, but Larry wasn’t having it.

The encounter was a reminder that Larry can handle business when sufficiently motivated.

Larry is a former stray rescued by London’s Battersea Dogs and Cats and was four years old when he got the job on the strength of the shelter’s claim that he was an excellent hunter who would solve No. 10’s rodent problem. Bringing in a capable kitty became a priority in 2011 when the rats on site became so bold, they’d walk right past reporters and TV cameras outside the prime minister’s official residence and office.

The long-tenured mouser got a bad rep in his early days, when critics complained he “does little besides sleep” and spend time with his “lady friend,” Maisie, while also depositing hair on Prime Minister David Cameron’s suits.

But it’s Larry who’s had the last laugh as his tenure has outlast those of three prime ministers — Cameron, Theresa May and Boris Johnson. He’s now on his fourth PM, Liz Truss.

According to his official profile on the UK government’s website, “Larry spends his days greeting guests to the house, inspecting security defences and testing antique furniture for napping quality. His day-to-day responsibilities also include contemplating a solution to the mouse occupancy of the house. Larry says this is still ‘in tactical planning stage.'”

Buddy Joins World In Mourning His Friend Queen Elizabeth II

Buddy the Cat joined the world on Thursday in expressing sadness at the passing of his dear friend, Queen Elizabeth II.

The dashing feline and the beloved monarch struck up a friendship during the latter years of her reign and saw their bond strengthen during trying times, including the COVID-19 pandemic, the Great Turkey Shortage of 2021 and the death of the queen’s long time consort, Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh.

Although surrounded by friends and family, the queen became fond of Buddy for his unwavering support, his sense of humor and their shared love of turkey.

“The queen advised Buddy to keep a stiff upper lip during the Great Turkey Shortage of 2021, and Buddy was able to return the favor by being there for Her Majesty during the passing of Prince Phillip,” said royal observer Samantha Martin Bainbridge, the author of Flummery Tarts and Framboises St George: The Royal Family’s Favorite Desserts.

The queen took to referring to her favorite feline as “my dearest Bud-Bud,” though in keeping with tradition and ever the gentlecat, Buddy always referred to the queen as “Your Meowjesty.”

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Their unusual friendship made headlines in the British press, especially since feline companionship was unusual for a monarch known for her love of Corgis.

“The Queen loved her Corgis until the very end, but dogs are so very extra when it comes to expressing their love,” said Gideon Brackenthwaite, a royal observer and author of Henry VIII: The Kingly Pimp Hand. “Felines, like the British aristocracy, are much more reserved with their affection and shun garish displays of familiarity. For his part, the future Earl never name-dropped her Majesty or bragged about his friendship with her, a fact that the Crown deeply appreciated. You’d never find his future lordship’s name in the tabloids, heavens forbid.”

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Lord Buddy, Earl of Budderset. Credit: Buckingham Palace

Indeed, Queen Elizabeth II took the unprecedented step of knighting Buddy the Cat in 2021, naming him Sir Buddy, KBE of Buddington at that year’s investiture ceremony.

It was the first time the Crown had bestowed an honor on a feline since Able Seaman Simon, a ship’s cat on the HMS Amethyst who survived injuries he suffered during the Yangzte Incident of 1949.

Sir Buddy’s elevation was a poignant moment, and cameras captured Kate, Dutchess of Cambridge, dabbing gently at tears with her handkerchief as Buddy kneeled for his knighting.

Only a few short months later, Sir Buddy was elevated to Lord Buddy, Earl of Budderset, a meteoric rise for anyone in royal favor, let alone a cat.

During their friendship, Lord Buddy telephoned the Queen at least once per week and holidayed with her at Balmoral Castle in Scotland.

In a charming anecdote relayed by Prince William, the Queen and Earl Buddy shared a bowl of popcorn while watching Braveheart and laughing uproariously at the Australian Mel Gibson’s Scottish accent. The friends also enjoyed playing bridge.

“Like the rest of the world, I am deeply saddened by the passing of my dear friend and beloved Queen, Elizabeth. I’ll treasure the memories of our adventures together, especially the time we had a little too much to drink and woke the kitchen staff at 3 am to make us an epic turkey feast,” Lord Buddy wrote in a statement. “There will never be another monarch like Her Majesty, so beloved across the world with such an enduring and fruitful reign. All of us at Budderset House are in mourning, and feel for our friends at Buckingham Palace.”

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The earl was photographed on Friday in his Rolls Royce, eating a large meal of roasted turkey en route to London. At one point the Earl’s Rolls pulled even with the same model occupied by Princess Anne. The two exchanged pleasantries, and Lord Buddy was seen passing a bottle of Grey Poupon to the grieving royal between cars before the light turned green again.

“Such a simple gesture says volumes about His Lordship’s standing with the royal family,” said Edith Hershey, author of Direct From The Sauce: From Bechamel to Velouté, The Royal Family’s Most Beloved Condiments. “The Princess Royal would not accept Grey Poupon from just anyone. By passing the mustard, the earl was conveying his condolences and signaling his availability as a shoulder to cry on.”

Cat Lovers And Soccer Fans Pitch In To Help Severely Injured Kitty Who Ran Onto Field

Running onto the field in the middle of a professional soccer game is probably the best thing Topsey the cat ever did.

The nine-year-old tortoiseshell went missing in June of 2021 when her human, Alison Jubb of Sheffield (UK) was going on vacation and taking Topsey to a cattery. Topsey got spooked, bolted from her carrier, and after months of fruitless efforts to find her, Jubb thought she’d never see her cat again.

Then in the 94th minute of a Feb. 8 match between Sheffield and Wigan Athletic, a familiar-looking tortoiseshell dashed onto the field. Wigan’s Jason Kerr risked a penalty to catch and calm the clearly distressed cat while the crowd erupted in cheers.

“My daughter-in-law rang me last night and said, ‘Are you watching the football match?'” Jubb said. “I said ‘No,’ and she said ‘There’s a cat that ran on the football pitch and it just looks like Topsey.’ And I sort of laughed it off because I thought it won’t be.”

But the veterinarian rang the next day and, to Jubb’s surprise and delight, said the Sheffield woman’s cat had been identified via a microchip scan.

One of Sheffield’s season ticket holders happened to be a veterinarian, and when he offered to examine the terrified feline at the stadium, he realized she had serious injuries and brought her to a nearby clinic.

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Topsey in better times before she went missing. Credit: Alison Jubb

Topsey had survived her harrowing eight-months away and her bloodwork was okay, but the veterinarian said the tough little kitty had endured an attack by a dog or another larger animal, who picked her by her neck and shook her in its jaws. Topsey suffered broken bones, a damaged spine and had teeth marks on her neck.

The veterinary bill is hefty: Jubb was told she’s looking at about £10,000, or more than $13,000 in US dollars, to cover the exams, scans, surgeries and other necessities to relieve Topsey’s pain and mend her little body.

Generous cat lovers and soccer fans helped Jubb and Topsey reach that goal in just a few days. The campaign’s donations sit at £11,585 as of Feb. 19, and any money left over from Topsey’s veterinary care will be donated to a local rescue.

Topsey can’t walk properly because of her injuries, and in the 11 days since she was rescued, she’s been in veterinary care, recovering and scarfing down food after so many lean months left her malnourished.

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Topsey’s swaddled up in the care of a veterinarian. Credit: Alison Jubb

Despite the severity of her injuries, Topsey is “very comfy and she’s doing really well,” Jubb told the BBC.

Jubb says Topsey is constantly purring and is no doubt thrilled to be reunited with her humans and on the mend.

“Everybody has been brilliant, – my phone’s not stopped all day, it’s amazing,” Jubb said after Topsey was recovered. “And the players, I’d just like to say ‘thank you’ for being so gentle and kind with her and everybody who looked after her [on Feb. 8] because they’ve all been so nice with her and that’s lovely.”

Knighted By The Queen, Buddy Becomes Sir Buddy

LONDON – Call him sir!

Buddy the Cat was officially knighted on Friday during a ceremony at Buckingham Palace, granting him the title Knight of the British Empire and making him the most-honored cat in the Anglosphere since Able Seaman Simon, the decorated ship’s cat who was injured aboard the HMS Amethyst in 1949.

It’s unusual for an American to be knighted and unprecedented for a cat to be elevated to knighthood, but Buddy was honored “for his innumerable contributions to human-feline understanding, unprecedented innovations in the art of napping, and status as tastemaker supreme in the world of delicious snacks,” according to the Central Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood at St James’s Palace.

Buddy has become a trusted confidante of Queen Elizabeth II, royal insiders noted, and the two speak by telephone for at least 15 minutes each week.

“Her Majesty grew to appreciate Sir Buddy’s counsel in trying times,” a palace insider said. “In return, she advised Sir Buddy to keep a stiff upper lip during the Great Turkey Shortage of early 2021.”

Palace sources say the queen refers to her feline friend as “my dearest Buddington,” and often addresses him by the familiar “Bud-Bud.” Sir Buddy is also said to be close with Prince William.

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Official portrait of Sir Buddy, KBE. Credit: Royal portraitist Eldar Zakirov.

In addition to the knighthood, which entitles the American cat to refer to himself as Sir Buddy, KBE, the Crown gifted holdings including a cat-size palace on Buckingham grounds, as well as a country estate in Oxfordshire.

The estate’s central manor, Budsworth House, has 32 rooms, 86 couches, a dozen fireplaces and at least 16 antique litter boxes. The grounds are home to sprawling gardens featuring feline-centric statuary and boxes made of stone, as well as guest cottages for human and feline visitors.

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One of 14 statues of Sir Buddy that decorate the grounds and gardens of Budsworth House.

Rumors that Sir Buddy would be created Buddy, Earl of Buddington, did not come to fruition, although royal experts say an earldom is not off the table for the Queen’s favorite feline.

“Her Majesty is quite fond of Bud-Bud and was delighted when a parcel arrived with a Christmas card and a framed photograph of the two of them together,” a palace sources said. “In fact, Prince George and Princess Charlotte refer to Sir Buddy as ‘Uncle Bud-Bud.’ So in a sense, Sir Buddy is already part of the family.”

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