The post office may be the last place you’d expect to see a cat. Yet post offices had a problem with mice so in 1868, the Secretary of the Post Office authorized post offices to hire cats for one shilling.

Tibs the Great was the Royal Mail’s most famous post office cat. According to the mail service, he eventually weighed in 23 pounds and became the official Royal Mail Headquarters cat with over 14 years of service. When he died, Tibs was lauded with an obituary in the service’s magazine that recalled that “there is no record of Tibs ever granting audience to a Postmaster General.”

So if you think cats can’t perform useful work, just ask your local post office if they have a problem with mice. While today’s post offices might rely on exterminators to keep their rodent population under control, in the old days they relied on cats for a more natural solution.

To read more about cats catching mice in post offices, click here.