Who is Larry the Cat? As Theresa May Resigns, Twitter Goes Wild for 'Chief Mouser' Who Outlasted Two Prime Ministers

As Britain waited for Theresa May to announce her intention to resign as prime minister, Twitter was distracted by another 10 Downing Street resident—Larry the cat.

Live footage outside the PM's official residence captured a Number 10 worker moving the property's "chief mouser" at 9.44 a.m. BST (4.44 a.m. ET), roughly fifteen minutes before May made her speech.

Some took the cat's removal as a sign the PM's hotly anticipated announcement was coming. "ALERT: Larry the cat's been cleared off the Downing Street steps, it's on," user Andy Silke tweeted.

Political commentator Dan Hodges added: "Larry has just been taken inside Downing Street. Which is just as well. Given May's luck, she'd have walked out and tripped over him."

Others called for the cat—an enduring symbol of stability through times of political upheaval—to step in as the country's leader. "I demand that they bring back Larry the Cat. Must be our new PM," tweeted user LMarstonCFC.

Political commentator Edward Hardy shared a picture of Larry with the comment: "Larry the Cat: 'I would like to announce that I am standing to be the next Conservative Party leader. I believe I am the pawfect catdidate to lead this country'"

Larry the Cat, Theresa May
Chief Mouser Larry the cat sits in Downing Street sporting a union jack collar on October 12, 2017 in London, England. Steve Back/Getty Images

Larry joined Number 10 as "chief mouser" in 2011, when David Cameron was still resident. The official Number 10 mouse-catcher, Larry was originally adopted from Battersea Dogs & Cats home, according to his government biography. Cameron, like May, resigned over Brexit. He left office after the remain camp lost the U.K.'s European Union membership referendum in 2016.

Arguably the most popular resident of Number 10 since he moved in, Larry receives daily treats and gifts from the public, the bio states. Alongside greeting guests and finding the best antique furniture for naps, his day-to-day responsibilities "include contemplating a solution to the mouse occupancy of the house," the government website reads. "Larry says this is still 'in the tactical planning stage.'"

Other furry former residents of Number 10 include Humphrey, a stray who walked into the Westminster address in 1989, as the BBC previously noted. In his later years, speculation the cat had been booted from the house forced a Tony Blair-era Downing Street spokesperson to comment on his status. "One: the Blairs like cats. And two, the suggestion Cherie [Blair's wife] got rid of Humphrey is a vile slur," the spokesperson said.

Aside from Larry, other cats have made their way to the top of the most prestigious institutions. Many Americans will remember former White House resident Socks, a cat belonging to Bill and Hillary Clinton. A press darling, the cat was once pictured sitting at the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office— an ornate desk gifted by Queen Victoria in 1880.

A college at the University of Oxford has hosted a long line of mousers all known as "Simpkin." As well as discouraging mice, the cats reportedly keep the college's porters "in check," according to their official webpage.

Students mourned the loss of Simpkin III back in 2016. "He was a truly terrible mouser, a sometime successful bird-catcher, and a loyal and faithful companion to many students, fellows and staff. He never married," read the college's online eulogy. "Simpkin will be greatly missed, but we fully expect that he will not be the last of his name."

The college was right and in January 2017 Simpkin IV (formerly Buddy) was adopted from an animal charity.