A former health minister has admitted that Britain’s 11 million cats were in the crosshairs at the start of the Covid pandemic, and that the government considered “exterminating” them all.
Lord Bethell used the surprising example to highlight the widespread ignorance about how the disease spread when it first appeared in the UK at the beginning of 2020.
He said: “There was a moment we were very unclear about whether domestic pets could transmit the disease.
“In fact, there was an idea at one moment that we might have to ask the public to exterminate all the cats in Britain.”
He added: “Can you imagine what would have happened if we had wanted to do that?
“And yet, for a moment there was a bit of evidence around that so that had to be investigated and closed down.”
Larry, the feline resident of Number 10, dubbed Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office, was quick to respond, tweeting, “Hard not to take this personally.”
According to a survey conducted by the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) last year, Britain currently has 11.1 million cats, with 24 percent of the adult population owning one.
“There is limited evidence to suggest that COVID-19 transmission from people to cats may be possible,” according to Cats Protection’s website.