Mike, The British Museum Cat (1909-1929)

Mike the British Museum CatA tabby cat named Mike kept mice, pigeons and dogs at bay at the British Museum for almost 20 years.  Mike came to the attention of the well-known Egyptologist E. A. Wallis Budge when the resident cat Black Jack deposited a kitten at his feet, the future Mike.  He was noted to be friendly and to accept food from only a few of the museum’s employees.  In fact, he was known to avoid unwanted attentions and to even scratch those who came too close. In 1924, Mike retired from his official duties. When he died in 1929, Budge contributed an obituary to The Evening Standard.  The ending by FCW Hiley reads: 




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!




A tombstone at the Great Russell Street entrance to the museum states: “He assisted in keeping the main gate of the British Museum from February 1909 to January 1929.”


Want to know more about the cat in literature, art and history? Then Revered and Reviled is the book for  you. Now available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle formats. 

Revered and Reviled: A Complete History of the Domestic Cat, cat history, cats


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