No Holyrood cat despite ‘flaunting’ mice

Holyrood bosses have rejected the possibility of getting a cat, despite a mouse problem. Picture: Adam Elder/Scottish Parliament
Holyrood bosses have rejected the possibility of getting a cat, despite a mouse problem. Picture: Adam Elder/Scottish Parliament
Share this article
Have your say

HOLYROOD bosses have rejected calls for a resident feline despite fears of “cat-astrophic rodent romping” in Parliament.

Mice are said to be increasingly “flaunting themselves” in front of MSPs and Parliament staff.

No cats at Holyrood. Picture: Complimentary

No cats at Holyrood. Picture: Complimentary

The sight of Justice Committee convener Christine Grahame and Tory MSP Mary Scanlon has not instilled sufficient “panic in their breasties” to clear off, MSPs were told.

The decision to reject a parliament cat was branded “a mouse-take” at Corporate Body Questions.

Ms Grahame’s call for “a resident cat as a humane mouse deterrent” was greeted with a collective “miaow” from MSPs.

Corporate Body health and safety spokeswoman Linda Fabiani said: “We have no plans to procure a resident cat. We do however have a specialist pest control contractor who visits the building regularly.”

There were cries of “shame” from MSPs and Ms Grahame said she was “dispirited” by the rejection.

“We already have an established practice of setting nature on unwanted residents in the form of the hawk versus the pigeons,” she said.

“Is the Corporate Body really satisfied that the mice are under control given the increasing sightings as they flaunt themselves in public in broad daylight?

“Will the Corporate Body reconsider if there are more rodent rompings and provide some homeless felines with some meaningful employment?”

Ms Fabiani replied: “The member is not half as dispirited as the poor wee mice, with the panic in their breasties as they saw Mistresses Scanlon and Grahame advancing upon them in Queensberry House.

“We have looked at the suggestion of a parliament cat but there’s issues of the security doors, or cruelty to a resident cat who would not be allowed out of the building.

“Members have said to us that they would have an allergy to a resident cat.

“And yes, we are satisfied that the pest control measures that we currently take should stop the infestation of mice.”

SNP MSP Jim Eadie said the dispute has “set the cat amongst the pigeons”.

He said: “Pest control is a serious issue and not to address it would be a mouse-take and could even have cat-astrophic consequences for health and safety.

“We could investigate the issue of a security collar for the cat which might overcome some of the problems that Linda Fabiani has identified.”

Ms Fabiani said: “We don’t have problems in making sure that we have control of any potential mouse sightings in the Parliament, and therefore the answer is no.”

Westminster has had a long line of resident cats which are given the title Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office. The job is currently shared by Chancellor George Osborne’s cat Freya and former stray Larry which took the post when former Chancellor Alistair Darling’s cat Sybil returned to Edinburgh in 2009.

Spoof Twitter account pokes fun at cat rejection

A spoof Twitter account set up in the name of the ‘romping rodents’ has taken the news in its stride. @HolyroodMouse, set up in March tweeted ‘Common sense prevails! Freeeeeeeeedooooooom!!!!!!!!’, following it up with ‘You see all these stories about how I’m such a ‘problem’ but not once have I been approached for my side of the story. Pro-cat media bias!’

When asked for a comment, the mouse replied: ‘I welcome the common sense rejection of a #parlycat because sociopaths have no place in Holyrood. However, “pest control” is inflammatory language that we can do without in the interests of human-mouse relations.’

The Holyrood Mouse is not alone however, counting the New York Times newsroom mouse and the Newsnight mouse - both of whom regularly interact with users on Twitter - amongst its followers.