Wilberforce (cat)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Species Cat
Sex Male
Born Before 1973
Died 1988
United Kingdom London, United Kingdom
Nation from United Kingdom United Kingdom
Occupation Pet, Mouser
Title Downing Street cat
Term 1973 – 1987
Predecessor Peta
Successor Humphrey
Owner Cabinet Office
Named after William Wilberforce

Wilberforce was a cat who lived at 10 Downing Street between 1973 and 1987 and served under four British Prime Ministers: Edward Heath, Harold Wilson, Jim Callaghan and Margaret Thatcher.[1] His chief function was to catch mice, in which role he was the successor to Peta. In life he had been referred to as "the best mouser in Britain" as fit his role.[2]

According to Bernard Ingham,[3] the former press secretary to Margaret Thatcher, Wilberforce was a normal cat for whom Thatcher once bought "a tin of sardines in a Moscow supermarket". On the BBC coverage of the 1983 general election, presenter Esther Rantzen was allowed to hold Wilberforce and introduce him to viewers.

He retired on 3 April 1987, and was succeeded by Humphrey who was born in 1988, the year Wilberforce died.


  1. ^ Morris, Nigel (2007-09-12). "Introducing Sybil, Downing Street's first cat for a decade". The Independent. Retrieved 2011-12-28. 
  2. ^ "Alas, Great Britain's `best mouser' dead". USA Today. 1988-05-20. Retrieved 2011-12-28. 
  3. ^ "The Daily Telegraph letters". The Daily Telegraph. 2005-05-18. Retrieved 2011-12-28. 
Preceded by
Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office
Succeeded by