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Freedom of Information Act
reveals Home Office secrets

Thanks to the newly enshrined Freedom of Information Act numerous Internet articles have begun to reveal the previously secret details of the Home Office cat.

Confirming on the one hand that the Home Office is more than little bureaucratic in it's record keeping, the information also reveals a more personable and humorous side to one of the most important parts of the civil service.

Revealing details of official memos and reports circulated during the residencies of Peters I through IV, the life of the Home Office cat is certainly an interesting read.

The first official mention is from 1929 when an internal request was made for one penny per day for an 'efficient cat'. This request was revisited some time later when it was felt necessary to assess whether the term 'efficient' could still be applied, and therefore whether the maintenance payment was still appropriate.

During the blitz of WWII a request was made for 'duplicate' cats to be homed in each of the various locations to which the Home Office had been split, presumably so that an assassination attempt could not be sure to target the real Peter.

Peter III was actually a pedigree female Manx cat dubbed 'Peta', and officially presented to the Home Secretary by Lieutenant Governor of the Isle of Man. A later request to have the troublesome pedigree removed was deemed a political minefield, despite her 'accident' on the doormat just moments before the arrival of The Queen.

Numerous documented offers of presents for the successive line of cats, from members of the public and even Australian officials on a state visit, have all been declined - as we all know, civil servants are not allowed to receive gifts for fear of undermining their impartiality.

Eventually bad feeling amongst the staff (presumably professional jealousy) meant the last Home Office cat, Peter IV was retired some time in the early 1980s, and according to the documents, resided with an un-named senior employee for the rest of his days.

This article was first published in The Purr Company's regular Mews-letter, visit us for more cat stories and articles, a gallery of our visitors cats , cat videos and our online shop.

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