What is it?
The animal rescue charity is giving people the chance to vote for the new "Purr-Minister": in other words, their favourite cat owned by a peer or MP. A shortlist of six cats, complete with cute pictures, has been posted on the charity’s website, and animal lovers have from 9am on Thursday 15 January to noon on Monday 26 January to cast their votes. The winner will be announced on Wednesday 28 January.
Voters can view the felines’ pun-laden "Manifurstos" on the Battersea website. They range from the Labour MP Graeme Morrice’s cat, which is opposing top-down reorganisation of the veterinary service, to that owned by Tory Mark Spencer, which is campaigning for the return of free milk. The charity has also been promoting the campaign on Twitter and Facebook.
What the charity says
Lindsey Quinlan, the head of cattery at Battersea Cats and Dogs Home, says: "Here at Battersea, we can’t wait to see who will get their claws out in our Westminster top cat competition. There’s always one candidate that will toss their tail and wriggle their whiskers, but we hope the MPs and peers have fun entering their cats and the public backs them by voting."
Third Sector verdict
The campaign is run annually, but with the nation gearing up to the general election in May it works even better this time. Perhaps unsurprisingly the "policies" that the cats are proposing have more than an echo of the views of their political owners.
Although the cat puns are slightly cringeworthy, it’s a good way to get the charity’s work in front of MPs in the run-up to the election, and asking for voters' email addresses should increase its reach in the inboxes of Westminster.