Palmerston the cat has become a popular addition to the Foreign Office. But senior diplomats are concerned that he has become rather too well-loved.
Staff have been asked to avoid giving the department's chief mouser tidbits to eat amid office rumors that he has become less effective at his job of catching mice.
Sources suggested that while most staff had not noticed a change in Palmerston's waistline, senior management were keen to keep tabs on the cat's calorie intake, prompting speculation that his mousing skills had fallen below par?
The office of the Permanent Under Secretary of State Sir Simon McDonald is in charge of the welfare of the sole feline member of Foreign Office staff.
They are keen to ensure he returns to his handler to be fed so they can keep on top of what exactly he is eating.
A spokesman for the Foreign Office declined to comment but confirmed the message had been sent out to senior staff to pass on to their teams.?
Figures released in September last year under Freedom of Information laws revealed that the cat had been spotted catching 27 rodents since its arrival.?
But the release also said the figure was likely to be an understatement as the cat was likely to have caught mice when staff were not watching.?