Stop the presses! Larry the cat is asleep!

Larry the Downing Street Cat just can’t catch a break.

The British tabloid media are on the poor kitty’s case as if he’s a peccadillo-prone celebrity with a penchant for appearing in public in full Hot Mess Mode.

I expect that kind of silliness from the tabloids. But today, even the ordinarily staid BBC took a jab at the hapless cat. Reporter Norman Smith saw Larry napping on a hot air vent by the back door of 10 Downing Street (home of Prime Minister David Cameron), and tweeted that photographers arriving for a press conference were ordered not to take pictures of the snoozing tabby.

Why the kerfuffle over a sleeping cat? Apparently the latest round of feline melodrama started last week when a mouse was spotted at a recent prime ministerial dinner.

This brought indignation from the tabloids, who insisted that the cat should be fired. The London Daily Mail, that bastion of breathless scandal-mongering, says it’s heard from ministerial aides that Larry spends most of his time asleep or with his kitty girlfriend, Maisie.

A cat sleeping? I’m shocked! Shocked, I tell you!

At least Prime Minister Cameron’s staff is defending the embattled puss. He “brings a lot of pleasure to a lot of people,” a spokesman said. Cameron also told the BBC in June that Larry had caught three mice since his arrival in February.

Larry also seems to be a fan of U.S. President Barack Obama. Generally the cat is nervous around men, but “funnily enough, he liked Obama,” Cameron said. “Obama gave him a stroke and he was all right with Obama.”

That’s because Larry knows an animal lover when he sees one — even if that animal lover happens to be keeping a dog.

Now, if only the tabloids would back off and let a sleeping cat lie. He’ll probably be able to catch more mice if he doesn’t have a herd of screaming reporters and flashing cameras chasing him everywhere he goes.

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