UK health authorities considered ordering the euthanization of all pet cats in the country during the first COVID outbreak, it has been revealed.
Ex-Deputy Health Minister Lord James Bethell made the admission while trying to argue that governments were caught unawares in how to respond to the virus, remarking, “We shouldn’t forget… how little we understood about this disease.”
“There was a moment we were very unclear about whether domestic pets could transmit the disease,” he said. “In fact, there was an idea at one moment that we might have to ask the public to exterminate all the cats in Britain. Can you imagine what would have happened if we had wanted to do that?”
Bethell claimed that “for a moment” there was “a bit of evidence around” the idea after a Siamese cat became the first in Britain to contract COVID-19, but that the plan was “closed down” fairly quickly.
Cat owners were told not to kiss their pets and to observe “observe very careful hygiene” around them while keeping them indoors if a member of the household caught COVID.