Holyrood says no to resident cat
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.
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. Westminster has had a long line of resident cats. 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. 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."