Cat Who Guarded the Museum
|From 1909 to 1929, Cat
guarded the British Museum from unwelcome
creatures. Mike had a disdain for other cats and
apparently didn't like people either, except for
official gatekeeper, who was his owner; and
Egyptologist Sir Ernest A.
Wallis Budge. Only those two could touch him,
talk to him, or
Assistant Keeper Hiley of the Department of Printed Books wrote this elegy: "Old Mike, Farewell! We all regret you, Although you would not let us pet you; Of cats, the wisest oldest best cat, This be your motto,—Requiescat!"
In addition to guarding the gates from dogs, Mike would gently bring trespassing pigeons to the housekeeper who would release them unharmed, giving Mike a treat in exchange.
Mike's small tombstone, near the Great Russell Street entrance to the Museum, bears the inscription: "He assisted in keeping the main gate of the British Museum from February 1909 to January 1929."