Talk:Humphrey (cat)

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I guess this is what happens when your stated goal is to digitaize all human knowledge.

I dare day this this page will probably beocome a disambiguation page and that Humphrey will have to be moved. Mintguy (T) 11:37, 2 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Noting that I'm replying to a Apr 2004 comment, thank god it hasn't. I have enough trouble removing my cats from a favourite chair that they've been on for a few hours. I doubt anyone is going to be eager to move a cat from a prime position in the namespace that he's now occupied for a year and a half.
For future reference, if anyone another year and a half from now needs to disambig the name 'Humphrey', I suggest they walk into this article and loudly announce 'Boy, I could really use a good rest on Humphrey (cat) right now!' at which point this article will move itself there like a flash. --Last Malthusian 12:44, 30 November 2005 (UTC)

Substantial rewriteEdit

Just conducted a substantial rewrite of this article. Here's some things that came up during the editing of this very important article:

I wrote the original and I think I can help you about some of the questions. Hope you don't mind if I interleave my answers with your questions Usenet style. David | Talk 21:47, 9 July 2005 (UTC)

Humphrey's date of birthEdit

The original article stated 1986-1988 but everything I could find stated that he was around a year old at the time of his arrival at the Cabinet Office in October 1989, putting his date of birth at circa 1988. I've gone with this latter date.

As a stray Humphrey's birth is inevitably shrouded in mystery. I found press articles giving his age in 1990 as either two or four. It's clear he was fully grown by this time, but I don't think we will ever really know. David | Talk 21:47, 9 July 2005 (UTC)

Start date of Humphrey's employmentEdit

The original article gave the rather precise date of February 12, 1990 but I could find nothing to verify this. All other reports give October 1989 as the date of his arrival, so I changed the article to this.

This and the other definite dates are definite, taken from contemporary newspapers which I found through LexisNexis when working for an MP. I no longer do and can't check but if I recall correctly I took this date from the date when the previous mouser, Wilberforce, retired. David | Talk 21:47, 9 July 2005 (UTC)

Robin chick massacre allegationsEdit

Couldn't verify the exact date of June 7, 1995 but left it in. Also couldn't verify the exact John Major quote but found similar, so left that in too.

Again, contemporary newspapers. Most of them were in the LexisNexis database by this stage. David | Talk 21:47, 9 July 2005 (UTC)

1995 disappearanceEdit

The original article said he went missing in July 1995 but everything I found suggested June, so I changed it. Could find no reference to September 25, 1995 being the date of the announcement of his presumed death but I've left it in. Some places state that The Times went as far as to print an obituary but I can't find any evidence of this and it's unclear whether this was before or after the announcement, so I've not mentioned it.

Dates of disappearance are impossible to state with accuracy ("Did you see him today?" "No, I'm sure he'll be in tomorrow") but I think I can remember having to calculate this back from the length of time he was stated to have been missing. The Times did not print an obituary but it did report on the death, an embellishment which is quite typical of urban legends like this. The rediscovery of Humphrey was immediately after the public announcement of his disappearance (the day it appeared in the papers or the next day) so it would be very unlikely and probably unique to deliberately print an obituary for a living cat. David | Talk 21:47, 9 July 2005 (UTC)


The original article stated that his retirement was announced on November 13, 1997. However, the Telegraph indicate that while he actually retired on that date, it was not announced until the next day (sort-of backed up by BBC News Online, which didn't report on it until November 15). The original article also implied that he was presented at a press conference but contemporary BBC reports indicate journalists were actually taken to see him at a secret location in south London (it's implied that this may not have been his actual retirement home). I changed both these parts of the article. 04:38, 22 Mar 2005 (UTC)

It all depends what you call a press conference - the press were invited to see him, and they could ask him questions (didn't get many answers as he seemed unimpressed). David | Talk 21:47, 9 July 2005 (UTC)

I'd delete the whole articleEdit

This is fucking ridiculous, that's all I have to say. Wikipedia is becoming more and more a bad joke.—The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 22 March 2006.

You don't have to read it if you don't like it! Besides, the amount of newspaper articles and even statements from the prime minister and his cabinet justify by themselves the utility of this article. There are far less notable articles than this one. And that's what makes the beauty of Wikipedia, you can find everything! --IronChris 04:21, 5 April 2006 (UTC)

I see no reason to take any notice of anyone with such a limited vocabulary, especially an anonymous person, if indeed they are not a dog. The Real Walrus 00:46, 17 April 2006 (UTC)

Quite right, both of you. Humphrey the cat was a little celebrity and it is entirely appropriate that readers are provided with information about him. RupertMillard 12:52, 17 April 2006 (UTC)

I have to say this is the best article I have read on Wikipedia. Thanks Stupidstudent (talk) 18:47, 24 August 2009 (UTC)

he had his own spitting image puppet! Having one of these in the UK was the sign you had made it as a notable person. So of course he deserves an article. Coolug (talk) 21:58, 29 January 2010 (UTC)


Excuse me, but I am not aware of the meaning of PC in the sentence : "in the nearby Royal Army Medical College, where he had been taken in as a presumed stray and named PC.". Does that stand for "Personal Cat"? "Politically Correct"? "Personal Computer"? Maybe it should be changed, unless I am the only english speaker not to understand it... --IronChris 04:21, 5 April 2006 (UTC)

According to The Guardian (September 27, 1995, page 6), "PC" stood for "Patrol Car". Will put that in the article. David | Talk 08:16, 5 April 2006 (UTC)
Thanks. Wait... they named the cat Patrol Car?? Must be some kind of army sense of humour I guess... --IronChris 07:35, 6 April 2006 (UTC)
Sounds like a Guardian typo. See Grauniad.
Perhaps a pun on TC, the nickname of Top Cat, a very popular Hanna Barbera cartoon cat on television in early

1960s — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:38, 2 September 2012 (UTC)

Questionable formatEdit

While I appreciate the humour in the article, writing it as though the cat was a politician isn't very encyclopedic. The various events around the cats like could still be stated, but perhaps re-written to emphasize the fact that this article is indeed about a cat; for example, cats cannot be "hired", they are pets. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Harley peters (talkcontribs) 23:16, 16 April 2006

I don't think the article is written in an unencyclopaedic tone. The word "hire", for example, doesn't actually appear anywhere in the article. If you think there's any other questionable wording in the article, please be bold and change it. --Sam Blanning(talk) 23:22, 16 April 2006 (UTC)

I would tend to agree that, for those that aren't familiar of the cat's status, the article does not read like a proper article. While there are newspaper reports and quotes, these are obviously in jest, and this should be in the article. I will try to present that in the article.-- 19:28, 1 May 2007 (UTC)

Cherie BlairEdit

The clash with Cherie Blair seems wrong to me. Tony Blair and his family actually live at 11 Downing Street. Bluap 18:34, 3 November 2006 (UTC)

The two buildings are joined together and Humphrey patrolled them both (and indeed much wider - his main work was at the Cabinet Office. Fys. “Ta fys aym”. 18:38, 3 November 2006 (UTC)

Future GA candidate?Edit

I love seeing the quality and quantity of this article, particularly considering the probably limited amount of info available, and think that maybe it really could be a candidate for good article status. Maybe we could have one of the people who has worked on it put it up for peer review and see what kind of responses it gets. It probably could use a little work, but all such articles too. In the next couple of days, when I finish wish what I am trying to do right now myself, I'll try to do what I can to help improve the article myself. And thanks to everyone who's worked on it!! Badbilltucker 20:14, 9 November 2006 (UTC)


Does anyone have a source for the claim that Humphrey cost about £100 a year?

He may have been fed on leftovers and therefore have had no direct food costs, but since he seems to have had long-term health problems, there must also have been veterinary bills. £100 a year seems very low for a central London vet.

I note that the article does not record whether Humphrey was paid a salary. Bearing in mind that Blair's government introduced the mimnium wage, could this have been a factor in his enforced retirement before the minimum wage legislation took effect? --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 18:51, 10 November 2006 (UTC)

The £100/year figure is found in this report in the Daily Telegraph. Their information came from files released under the Freedom of Information Act, which probably adds credibility (after all, if you can't trust the government to tell the truth in files which it keeps confidential and doesn't release voluntarily to the public, when can you trust it?).
So far as I can tell the National Minimum Wage Act 1998 applies only to humans. It also came in after Humphrey was retired. I have no information on whether he received a state pension, but his National Insurance contributions may not have been kept up. Fys. “Ta fys aym”. 19:43, 10 November 2006 (UTC)

Humphrey gender controversyEdit

Apparently (this is from the tiems of July 16, 1994) Major had said. "There is a slight embarrassment : we believe he's a lady cat". The Cabinet Office said the vet had told them he's a neutered male. Morwen - Talk 11:30, 11 November 2006 (UTC)

Patrol CarEdit

"Staff at the medical college realised the truth when they saw a familiar black and white cat on the television news. Their new black and white cat, answering to PC - for Patrol Car - admitted all." - The Guardian, September 27, 1995, p. 6. Fys. “Ta fys aym”. 14:12, 21 October 2007 (UTC)

Yeah right...Edit

What next? "Hamburger(mouse) - Chief Cat Entertainer to the Cabinet Office"? Seriously, get a life. -- (talk) 06:05, 23 March 2008 (UTC)#

Actually looking a Brown, Cameron etc, I would like to see the cat promoted to Primeminister. Mtaylor848 (talk) 23:08, 11 October 2008 (UTC)

Drugged by CampbellEdit

The allegation is sourced from The News of the World, but in turn the paper is quoting Don MacIntyre's biog of Peter Mandelson. If I can find the original source, I'll use that instead. --Old Moonraker (talk) 17:22, 23 February 2009 (UTC)

ISBN 0006530621 --Old Moonraker (talk) 17:30, 23 February 2009 (UTC)

GA ReviewEdit

This review is transcluded from Talk:Humphrey (cat)/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.
Starting review. Pyrotec (talk) 16:21, 28 August 2009 (UTC)

Initial commentsEdit

This article looks to be about GA-level, but I have noticed a few problems with lack of citations, i.e. lack of compliance with WP:verify; nevertheless I will continue with the review.

I intend to go through the article section by section, but leaving the WP:Lead until last. Pyrotec (talk) 11:12, 30 August 2009 (UTC)

  • Humphrey (cat) -
  • Almost entirely unreferenced. Non-compliant with WP:verify.
  • Two added—possible scope for one more. --Old Moonraker (talk) 16:30, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
  • Humphrey's problems -
  • A reference is needed to verify claims in first paragraph.
 Fixed. --Old Moonraker (talk) 16:52, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
  • The Ref 4 pdf file is 121 pages long and appears to be a FOI request. As the in-line citation refers to a specific Press Release, the page number, or range of page numbers, should be specified in the citation.
 Fixed--Old Moonraker (talk) 06:42, 31 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Humphrey and the Blairs -
  • First paragraph: a citation is needed for the Private Eye claim.
  • The second paragraph has an unreferenced quotation in the firs sentence; and unreferenced speculation or possible WP:OR in the second sentence.
 Fixed--Old Moonraker (talk) 06:42, 31 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Rumours of murder -
  • A source is need for the apparent claims of the Conservatives.
 Fixed--Old Moonraker (talk) 06:42, 31 August 2009 (UTC) be continued. Pyrotec (talk) 12:32, 30 August 2009 (UTC)

  • In retirement & Successor -
  • Both appear to be acceptable.
  • References -
  • All the Telegraph links, i.e. No.s 7, 11, 12, lead to a search page, but the articles do not appear to available.
  • The Yahoo reference, 16, appears to have expired.
 All fixed: repaired or replaced. --Old Moonraker (talk) 15:58, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
  • This is intended to be both an introduction to the article and a summary of the main points. It's quitre good as an Introduction, but its a bit short and its not all that good at summarising all the main points.
  • Further comments on lack of in-line citations -
  • I've already commented above on the lack of in-line citations for some paragraphs. Your existing references, probably already provide verification but you are not making use of them.

I'm putting the article on Hold for the above comments to be addressed. Pyrotec (talk) 13:55, 30 August 2009 (UTC)

Overall summaryEdit

GA review – see WP:WIAGA for criteria

An amusing article

  1. Is it reasonably well written?
    A. Prose quality:  
    B. MoS compliance:  
  2. Is it factually accurate and verifiable?
    A. References to sources:  
    B. Citation of reliable sources where necessary:  
    C. No original research:  
  3. Is it broad in its coverage?
    A. Major aspects:  
    B. Focused:  
  4. Is it neutral?
    Fair representation without bias:  
  5. Is it stable?
    No edit wars, etc:  
  6. Does it contain images to illustrate the topic?
    A. Images are copyright tagged, and non-free images have fair use rationales:  
    B. Images are provided where possible and appropriate, with suitable captions:  
  7. Overall:
    Pass or Fail:  

I'm awarding this article GA-status. Pyrotec (talk) 18:14, 3 September 2009 (UTC)


The article currently states:

"In September 2007, 10 Downing Street had a cat at last, since Humphrey: Sybil moved from Edinburgh with Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling and family, living in the three-bedroomed flat above No. 10."

I believe there are two official residences on Downing Street, number 10 being the official residence of the PM, and number 11 being the official residence of the Chancellor. IIRC, during Tony Blair's time in office, number 11 having more bedrooms, and he and his wife having a number of children living at home, they swapped residences, and street numbers. Geo Swan (talk) 16:08, 28 August 2010 (UTC)

OK, I just checked Downing_Street#Houses_in_Downing_Street. It says like Blair and Brown, Cameron and Darling may have switched which families occupied which living quarters. Geo Swan (talk) 16:17, 28 August 2010 (UTC)
I am going to remove the passage about the flat above #10. Geo Swan (talk) 16:18, 28 August 2010 (UTC)


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