Talk:Larry (cat)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

External link added/removed[edit]

Was the Larry link unsuitable? Seemed quite useful for cat fans like me, but sorry if it wasn't the right sort of material --FelisTeeCee (talk) 08:12, 23 February 2011 (UTC)

Hi Felis - My understanding is that as it's a personal website it therefore shouldn't be used, as per point 11 of external links normally to be avoided. Arthur Holland (talk) 10:14, 23 February 2011 (UTC)

Too 'tongue-in-cheek'?[edit]

I appreciate the humour, but the article is written as a sort of protracted joke. I also appreciate that there is a limit to how serious an article about a rat-chasing cat can be made, but is there any way this could be made less sarcastic? TomB123 (talk) 09:09, 26 May 2011 (UTC)

The article merely reflects newspaper comments. So long as it has proper citations and remains fairly short, I don't think there is a problem. I don't expect it will reach good article status but it may be read by those who wouldn't read political articles. JRPG (talk) 09:09, 13 June 2011 (UTC)
Must admit when I was reading it I was a little put off by the tone, but when to official No 10 website lists him "inspecting security defences and testing antique furniture" there's not much you can do. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:30, 26 June 2012 (UTC)

Great tongue in cheek article. We need some humour in our difficult times. Thank you for brightening my day. Complainers who cannot get irony, please move off. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:15, 5 September 2012 (UTC)

Re Tone banner. I've removed it because the article does reflect the jocular style of reliable sources and hence is in accordance with WP:Guide_to_writing_better_articles#Information_style_and_tone. I note this article under the BBC politics section which I hope someone will add. Remove the source humour and the purpose of the article disappears.JRPG (talk) 08:42, 17 October 2012 (UTC)

"On March 6,2012 Larry made his own live TV cameo appearance during the BBC's flagship Ten O'Clock News program, when he strolled nonchalantly up to the doorstep of Number Ten Downing Street just as BBC Political Correspondent James Lansdale was delivering a piece to camera. Lansdale appeared to be unaware the cat was stealing the scene from him as he ploughed on with his report. Larry meanwhile - with all the PR skill of a practised politician - posed on the doorstep until a Number Ten factotum opened the door to admit him. Larry, a master of timing, characteristically pauses for effect in order to give his entrance the maximum impact before sweeping majestically through the hallowed portal into the hall. His impromptu appearance was so popular BBC viewers demanded it be repeated on the BBC News Channel's "Newswatch" program. This is available on BBC iPlayer on (from 10:20). On April 24, 2012 Larry returned to the news for his antics while waiting to be admitted to 10 Downing Street,[22] and on May 24,2012 Larry was caught partaking in the recent craze of chillaxing in the 27 °C heat." How is that appropriate tone for an encyclopaedia?--EchetusXe 08:59, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
I think it should be removed, but not [just] because of tone, but because it's not notable/encyclopedic/verifiable in secondary sources. --Dweller (talk) 09:46, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for a rapid and clear response. The TV cameo appearance is editorialising, lacks notability and should be removed. The IPlayer link has long since been overwritten. Chillaxing needs to be in quotes assuming it is in the source. JRPG (talk) 09:52, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
Also twitter is not a reliable source for more recent posts. JRPG (talk) 09:58, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
Seems like we're agreed. I'll edit it now. --Dweller (talk) 10:11, 17 October 2012 (UTC)

So taking the the following part for example:

"On 14 November 2011, Larry's position came under pressure, as it emerged that he was spending more time sleeping, and spending time in the company of a female cat, Maisie,[14] than actually hunting for mice. The cat's position was said to be "unassailable", even though it emerged that the Prime Minister had resorted to throwing a piece of cutlery at a mouse during a Cabinet dinner, in an ineffectual attempt to kill it.[14] The Prime Minister's spokesman rejected calls for Larry's resignation, stating that "Larry brings a lot of pleasure to a lot of people".[15]"

The bbc article [14] doesn't say anything about Larry's position coming under pressure or that his position was said to be "unassailable". I think there is a problem with the tone here. Fine to say that the media reported him as spending more time sleeping than hunting for mice but writing that his position came under pressure, when it's not written in the source, is a bit much...Polyamorph (talk) 21:22, 13 July 2016 (UTC)

I read the article for the very first time today. I actually enjoyed some aspects of the jocular style, however, I was extremely disappointed and quite angry to see some very sloppy editing in the article. The example which stands out to me is the statement - "However, Larry's spokeswoman insisted that the two tabbies were able to "co-exist". The source makes it very clear that the spokeswoman was the PM's, not Larry's! This really is unforgivably inaccurate editing and we must all try harder. (Joke!) DrChrissy (talk) 23:00, 13 July 2016 (UTC)
I have risked stroking Larry's fur the wrong way and made the correction. Philip Cross (talk) 07:50, 14 July 2016 (UTC)
Purrrrrrr Thanks. DrChrissy (talk) 17:08, 14 July 2016 (UTC)

Removal from David Cameron article.[edit]

In accordance with the general spirit of this article, could I suggest that the template for the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom includes both the monarch and the cat to whom the PM owes allegiance? JRPG (talk) 22:15, 10 September 2012 (UTC)

Seriously? I love this article, but I can't think of a reason why that would be a good idea. --Dweller (talk) 22:27, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
uhm ..oh dear ..not too seriously, and apologies for any time wasted -it has been removed from the Cameron article though. Though I follow all the rules , this is is the only light hearted article I indulge in and perhaps cat:humour Face-grin.svg is in order.
En passant, congrats to Dingowasher for all his efforts to get this to B-Class. JRPG (talk) 23:42, 10 September 2012 (UTC)

100,000 cats employed by the British Gov't?[edit]

Could a better source be provided for the extraordinary claim, "He is one of 100,000 cats employed by the Government to keep down mice?[1] Is this figure for all time, or annually? Is there a line item in a budget somewhere? Abductive (reasoning) 05:38, 31 December 2012 (UTC)

Apologies for not having a better source, particularly for a most valued member of the political community :) but I came upon the Daily Mail item by chance -and could hardly believe what I read. I completely assume that the 100k figure is the current feline payroll. JRPG (talk) 21:58, 24 March 2013 (UTC)

I can't believe this is true. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:08, 14 April 2013 (UTC)

I'm equally astonished but ... It appears in a suggested source and they, not us are supposed to check their facts! No humans are likely to suffer as a result of an error and it is important to explain that the cat is there for a very specific purpose. I'll reinsert but assign responsibility for any error to the Telegraph which will improve the article. JRPG (talk) 16:59, 20 June 2013 (UTC)
I should have added that there is further advice on policy at Wikipedia:Verifiability, not truth JRPG (talk) 17:35, 20 June 2013 (UTC)

Looks like someone made a FOI request about this last year, but the answer they got was just "I am writing to advise you that this information is not held by the Cabinet Office." --McGeddon (talk) 14:46, 26 August 2014 (UTC)

Interesting and thanks for sharing! I added the original snippet + reference. However as Sir Humphrey Appleby would have said, that doesn't mean the information isn't held elsewhere! Editors on this page, whilst maintaining accuracy, try to reflect the fairly light hearted tone of the reporting newspapers. If you can find a reference number for the FOI response data, please add it. personally, I'd have no problem with a scanned copy -minus the recipient's personal details. Very brief mouse casualties would be of interest. Regards JRPG (talk) 20:53, 26 August 2014 (UTC)

Google Street View link[edit]

I can't see Larry in the link purporting to show him on Google Street View, and I notice that 10 Downing Street appears to have been blurred in its entirety. Did Larry get an injunction? (talk) 14:21, 26 August 2014 (UTC)

Good catch. We shouldn't be using Street View itself as a source anyway, so I've replaced it with a 2012 news story and put a year on it. --McGeddon (talk) 14:27, 26 August 2014 (UTC)
I would expect all potential terrorist targets to be blurred. JRPG (talk) 21:00, 26 August 2014 (UTC)


There is a serious article on the CAT at Downing Street? And Wikipedia still thinks it is a serious source of information? Ok... (talk) 03:17, 9 May 2015 (UTC)

Absolutely! This is one of almost 5 million Wikipedia articles and I believe it accurately reflect what newspapers have said about the mouser. For parents with younger children, it is also an excellent introduction to politics and government, reflecting the encyclopaedia's important role in education. Regards JRPG (talk) 11:23, 31 August 2015 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

Hello fellow Wikipedians,

I have just added archive links to one external link on Larry (cat). Please take a moment to review my edit. If necessary, add {{cbignore}} after the link to keep me from modifying it. Alternatively, you can add {{nobots|deny=InternetArchiveBot}} to keep me off the page altogether. I made the following changes:

When you have finished reviewing my changes, please set the checked parameter below to true to let others know.

You may set the |checked=, on this template, to true or failed to let other editors know you reviewed the change. If you find any errors, please use the tools below to fix them or call an editor by setting |needhelp= to your help request.

  • If you have discovered URLs which were erroneously considered dead by the bot, you can report them with this tool.
  • If you found an error with any archives or the URLs themselves, you can fix them with this tool.

If you are unable to use these tools, you may set |needhelp=<your help request> on this template to request help from an experienced user. Please include details about your problem, to help other editors.

Cheers.—cyberbot IITalk to my owner:Online 17:25, 1 February 2016 (UTC)

Downing Street jokes vs Twitter jokes[edit]

The new paragraph from User:Dingowasher about how "following David Cameron's resignation, Larry was reported to be putting together a bid to be the next leader of the Conservative Party" is sourced to an article about how Twitter users were making jokes about this, rather than (as is the case for the bulk of the article) a tongue-in-cheek Downing Street press release. This sentence becomes quite dull if accurately reframed as "Twitter users joked".

For basic Wikipedia quote-attribution and the sake of a good joke article (Downing Street putting out a serious statement about a cat is funny, a few Twitter users saying "Larry for PM lol" is not), should we stick to actual quotes from the government? --McGeddon (talk) 08:41, 5 July 2016 (UTC)

Removal of monarch/PM from infobox[edit]

I feel that the monarch and PM shouldn't be removed from the infobox, this may be an article about a cat but it's still an official government position, as confirmed by the 10 Downing Street website.[1] Younotmenotyou (talk) 10:26, 26 August 2016 (UTC)


It's a cat. It doesn't have a monarch, religion, honorific, or any of the other cruft that keeps getting added. (The 10 Downing Street website probably also has more leeway to publish whimsy on its website than an encyclopedia does.) BastunĖġáḍβáś₮ŭŃ! 10:58, 26 August 2016 (UTC)

Recentism, "murder" and trivial additions[edit]

Hi McGeddon. I don't think anyone coming to this page expects a serious political or feline article. They are however expecting something that accurately reflects the sources and their language. Re recentism, some earlier links appear to have been removed but I don't as yet know why. The Telegraph article I added today explicitly refers to 'murdering mice' and the addition of a warning bell is much more significant than it might appear -it's now clear that the cat is not there to catch mice! FWIW, I believe both the newspaper reporters and this article are providing a useful service to younger readers who may develop an interest in politics through reading about Larry. Regards JRPG (talk) 19:02, 14 September 2016 (UTC)

The recentism tag doesn't mean that the article has to be more serious, just that it shouldn't document each and every breaking news story in sequence. The current article reads more like a day-by-day diary ("September 2016, got a new collar") which is going to be a slog of a read in WP:10YEARS' time. The Wikipedia biography of Humphrey is broken up into sections, and taking the same approach for Larry ("Relationship with Cameron", "Rivalry with Palmerston", and only writing as much detail as is necessary in each section) would make the article much more accessible to any reader.
Wikipedia can use jokily written articles as sources, but should do so in a formal tone. If a newspaper describes the murder of a mouse or a scorcher of a summer, we should put that in scare quotes or rephrase it. --McGeddon (talk) 09:32, 15 September 2016 (UTC)
I really like this article. It is fun to edit (a rare thing on Wikipedia these days) because it stretches the mind in how to phrase information in a way which is both accurate and informational, but also tongue in cheek. I think it has the correct balance at the moment. Regarding recentism, there are many articles considerably more guilty of this - try watching an article on Celebrity Big Brother when the series is showing on television. DrChrissy (talk) 16:49, 15 September 2016 (UTC)
Yes, I imagine it's hard to avoid recentism on an article about a weekly TV show. Do you think "first year, second year, third year" listing all news stories until the cat is retired is preferable to how the Humphrey (cat) article is structured? --McGeddon (talk) 09:56, 16 September 2016 (UTC)
Actually, Celebrity Big Brother is a daily programme and edits to WP were being made seconds after transmission. In answer to your question, I prefer the format of the Humphrey article and I can understand your dislike of the yearly format in this one. DrChrissy (talk) 19:54, 16 September 2016 (UTC)
I think that there are some good points here about the structure of the article. I actually introduced the year-by-year format, when five years ago the article was just one long section that read like an unstoppable stream of consciousness. However, as McGeddon points out this has encouraged day-by-day reporting that has become a repetitive read. Looking through the article there are themes that last a year or so, and then fade away. e.g. years 1/2: moving in and first kill, years 3/4: rivalry with Freya, year 4: entertaining guests, year 5: Larry's interactions with other people, year 6: fights with Palmerston. These themes could form the basis of a future structure of the article. Perhaps to move towards this we should select a theme from the early years where the sources are stable, and work through the couple of associated paragraphs and rewrite them to simply to prevent each sentence start with "On 7th June...", but retain the main text of each sentence. Then we will be well-positioned to split that text off into a new section, and remove the year-by-year formatting for a cuple of years. Once one section is done it will serve as a template of how to deal with the other sections?77LmTA6knQ6 (talk) 22:37, 23 September 2016 (UTC)

I've taken a stab at splitting this into sections according to subject ("Arrival at Downing Street" / "Work as Chief Mouser" / "Relationships with politicians" / "Relationships with other animals" / "Territory" / "Other work"). I've taken out about 25k of day-by-day "and then he caught another mouse and then he met another school visit and then he sat on a car" details and lost some of the jokey segues which made imaginary narrative connections between consecutive events, but hopefully the basic facts are all still there. --McGeddon (talk) 14:08, 13 October 2016 (UTC)