Politicians and their pets: Jamie Halcro Johnson
Pet’s name? Squeaky (aka Squeaky Biscuit)
Breed? A no-frills black cat.
How long have you had Squeaky? She turned up at my sister’s house in Exeter about 13 years ago having decided living with another cat, two rottweilers and a family with small children wasn’t her thing.
Where did you get her? She relocated temporarily to Orkney and has never left.
What can she do? Basic cat stuff: sleeps, purrs, demands biscuits, and can mow a lawn (pictured below).
What do you love about Squeaky? When she was younger, she used to love going on long walks with our old dog. And when he died, she’d still come along and keep you company. She’s very friendly.
What special talents does she have? She was, in her day, a great hunter. Although she’s officially retired now.
What’s her best trick? She can give high fives.
What are Squeaky’s most annoying habits? She’s a squeaker, hence the name. It’s endearing at first… and then not so much.
What’s the worst thing she’s done? She has zero common sense. She once sat down in front of a car on a single-track road, forcing it to stop. And then – after some encouragement – moved only five metres down the road before sitting down again. This process went on for about ten minutes to the driver’s growing frustration.
Do you think of yourself as a pet parent or pet owner? Pet sibling. She’s really my parents’ cat.
Who walks your pet when you’re at parliament? She doesn’t really walk much now. Just occasionally takes herself outside to look with disdain at the farm cats.
What’s the most ridiculous thing you have bought or done Squeaky? I commissioned Ally Smith Designs to paint a pet portrait of her and gave it to my parents as a Christmas present.
What’s your first pet or animal-related memory? I’m not sure what my first animal-related memory is – we have a farm, so it probably involved sheep or maniacal Shetland ponies. But my first pet memory is playing on a beach in Orkney with our old black lab, Holly.
What was the first pet you ever had? Holly was my first dog. But we also had a farm cat-turned-house cat called Fleabag. He was a legendary character who once fought and chased off a Jack Russell from the farm.
What would be your dream pet? Realistically – another Labrador. Unrealistically – a panther.
If you could be any animal what would you be? Probably a lion. Chilling in the sun all day and then free-range.