Government Cats + Riot Dogs

Officially, cats have been employed by the British government as mousers since 1929 (Home Office)(Day), although they have been informally used long before then. Today there are currently 5 official government cats, all employed for the specific purpose of rodent catching. Unlike their predecessors, their upkeep seems to be handled voluntarily and they do not cost the British taxpayer anything.

Of this newest group of bureau-cats, the first one on the scene was Larry of No 10 Downing Street, arriving in 2011. A few years later several other branches of the British government procured their own mousers. Larry and Palmerston are indoor/outdoor cats and, as a result, have crossed paths and engaged in fights (Wills). The other cats seem to stay within their respective buildings. Except for Larry, all of the cats have been named after political figures. Palmerston has since retired and his position is currently vacant but the other cats are still employed.

All of the cats have been on social media at times but Larry and Evie are the only accounts that are currently active. Ossie, Evie's son and co-mouser at the Cabinet Office, seems to keep a low profile but there was an article from 2022 referencing an emergency vet visit due to eating lily leaves (Sleigh). He is recovered and doing well!

The Diplo-cats


Larry, Chief Mouser

Date of Service: 2011 - present

From: Battersea Dogs & Cats Home

Workplace: No 10 Downing St (Prime Minister's residence)

Official Government Profile


Nemesis: Palmerston (ret)


Palmerston, former Chief Mouser of Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Date of Service: 2016-2020

From: Battersea Dogs & Cats Home

Namesake: Lord Palmerston

Workplace: Foreign & Commonwealth Office

Current status: retired to countryside for unknown reasons

Resignation story from BBC


Nemesis: Larry


Gladstone, Treasury Mouser

Date of Service: 2016-present

From: Battersea Dogs & Cats Home

Namesake: William Ewart Gladstone

Workplace: Treasury


Evie + Ossie

Evie and Ossie, mother and son mousers for the Cabinet Office

Date of Service: 2016-present

From: Celia Hammond Animal Trust

Namesake: Dame Evelyn Sharp (Evie), Sir Edward Osmotherly (Ossie)

Workplace: Cabinet Office

Cabinet Office cats Evie and Ossie join Whitehall mousers - BBC article


Lawrence of Abdoun

Lawrence of Abdoun, mouser at British Embassy, Jordan

Date of Service: 2017-?

From: adopted from local Jordanian animal shelter

Namesake: T.E. Lawrence

Workplace: British Embassy in Jordan

Rescue cat now part of the staff at the British Embassy in Amman


On the opposite side of our law-and-order felines we have the riot dogs. This term seems to have first been given to dogs who were present and participating in riots in Greece starting in 2008. Now, mind you, this isn't about a random instance of a single dog who showed up at one riot. This is about the same dog (probably) who showed up at multiple riots throughout the years. The most well known Greek riot dogs are Loukianos (Sausage) and Kanellos (Cinnamon). As they are both similar looking yellow dogs, there is occasionally confusion as to which dog has actually been photographed (Staff). It is possible that, when not rioting, Kanellos/Loukianos was ummm, busy with other things, leading to the proliferation of yellow riot dogs (Yezpitelok). "Loukianos" was incredibly popular and all over social media, at one time boasting his own blog, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr page and YouTube channel.

On the other side of the world, Chile has also presented us with riot dogs. During student protests in Santiago in 2011, Negro Matapacos (Black Cop Killer - "black" because he was a black dog, not for any kind of racist reason) was an active participant in riots. In fact, his owner said he seemed to know when a protest was going to happen and went out to join it (Yezpitelok). Chile has given us many other riot dogs, some of them showcased here. Some of them I couldn't find a whole lot of information on but they are mentioned in this blog post. This post also looks into just why dogs join with street protests. From the article:

Experts agree in pointing to the group instinct of dogs as their deepest motivation to adhere to the movements of the human masses in the streets, to the extent that they are attracted by their snooping, drawing their attention and making them ignore risks or dangers. The repetition of the stimulus maintains the pattern of behavior and, thus, the dog ends up forming the habit.

Another source to find out more about Chilean protest dogs is this podcast episode of Historias Unknown "Revolutionary Dogs".

Riot Dogs


Kanellos, Greek riot dog facing down the police

Greek riot dog, possibly the OG

Passed away in 2008, aged about 17

Had a folk song written about him


Loukanikos, Greek riot dog

Greek riot dog

Passed away in 2011, aged about 10

One of Time Magazine's personalities of the year in 2011

During a riot between police members who were protesting and the police unit sent to oppose them, Loukanikos sided with the protesting police

Is an NPC character in a game!

Negro Matapacos

Negro Matapacos, fighting the police

Chilean riot dog (Santiago)

Passed away in 2017

Montage of Negro Matapacos pics set to punk song

Also features in a game!

Image was used in Chile as a symbol against state-sponsored brutality during 2019 riots and has now been seen worldwide in the form of murals, stickers, comic books, crocheted stuffed animals

El Vaquita

El Vaquita, Chilean riot dog

Chilean riot dog (Antofagasta)

Name means "little cow"

Street dog - people tried to adopt him but he kept running away

Was hit in the leg by a rubber bullet and needed to go to the vet. The only way to get him there was for the people to stage a fake protest and lead him there

Won the city's 2019 Character of the Year Award

Rucio Capucha

Riot dog Rucio Capucho baring his teeth, a hooded protester crouched at his side

Chilean riot dog (Santiago)

"Rucio" is Chilean term for "boy" and "capucha" means "hood" - named after the hoods the protesters wore


After being injured by a water cannon, was adopted by a family

Works Cited

Day, Chris. “The Cats at the Heart of Government.” The National Archives Blog, 13 May 2019,

Famous Greek Riot Dog Loukanikos Dies, 10 Oct. 2014,

“Home Office Cat History Revealed.” BBC News, 4 Jan. 2005,

Sandoval, Sofía. Rucio Capucha, El Perro Callejero Que Encabezó Las Manifestaciones, 8 Dec. 2019,

Simon. El Vaquita: The Chilean Street Dog Turned Furry Freedom Fighter, 29 June 2023,

Sleigh, Sophia. Cabinet Office Cat Rushed Into Emergency Care After Eating Lily Leaves, 22 Sept. 2022,

Sofia Papadima, LL.B. The Touching Story of Loukanikos and Other Greek Riot Dogs, 6 Oct. 2020,

Staff Writers. “There’s Only One Kanellos - Riot Dog Fans .” There’s Only One Kanellos - Riot Dog Fans | News.Com.Au, 11 May 2010,

Wills, Ella. The Downing Street Cats Fighting “Is a Metaphor for Brexit,” 16 Feb. 2018,

Yezpitelok, Maxwell. Incredibly Badass Protest Pups from around the World, 22 June 2020,

Image credits

Larry - Her Majesty's Government, OGL v1.0OGL v1.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Palmerston - U.S. Embassy in U.K., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Gladstone - HM Treasury, OGL 3, via Wikimedia Commons

Evie and Ossie - BBC

Lawrence of Abdoun - Reuters/Muhammad Hamed

Loukanikos - Jean Housen, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Kanellos - the

Negro Matapacos - Negro Matapacos attacking policemen. Source: Henríquez Ordenes (2020).

El Vaquita - Facebook photo originally published by the 'El Diario de Antofagasta' website

Rucio Capucha - photo by Sofía Sandoval