It’s the oldest rule of British politics: don’t threaten voters with the mass murder of cats during a pandemic. Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett

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CCast your mind back to 2020, because chances are you’ve suppressed it. The novel corona virus has subsided and lakhs of people are locked in their homes. Some have been dismissed and some have been dismissed. Everyone’s life plans are cancelled, from vacations, weddings and trying for a baby to going home, funerals and exams. The feverish lay in their beds, and the healthy wonder when they will die. In the absence of air traffic, the birdsong is very loud, punctuated by sirens. In the streets, people get yelled at for getting too close to each other, and walking in a park with a coffee can get you reprimanded through a megaphone. In the span of just a few short weeks, the world is unrecognizable, and it would be a little comical if it weren’t so scary and gloomy. Yet little did you or I know that – according to former health minister Lord Bethel – behind closed doors, the government was considering whether or not to mass-murder our cats.

I adopted my cat – then six week old kittens – in May 2020. Then there was a question mark whether cats could catch Covid. We now know it can happen, but rarely and only in a very mild form – although author Patricia Lockwood notes when she’s caught it can cause some dramatic gastric symptoms that are unbearable to think about. Is. Amid panic about the spread of the virus, we now know that the government thought one possible solution might be the mass slaughter of the country’s moggies. Why the dogs got a free pass, we’ll never know.

I remember, a little anxiously, reading the guidelines on viruses and pets before bringing the mackerel home. There were strict instructions not to kiss your cat. How we laughed, because what kind of loser has the guts to do that? Said happiness lasted until I met her, when I immediately realized how much I wanted to press my lips to the little white starburst on her forehead. I was in love Either that, or I had toxoplasmosis.

As I’m sure is the case with many “crazy cat ladies” — as we’ve been historically so crudely labeled — and their brothers in arms, keeping their pets under no circumstances other than them The thought of being relieved of extreme pain seems heart-wrenching to contemplate. Even when they suffer, it is devastating: when Ernest Hemingway had to send his cat Uncle Willie away, he wrote in a letter: “I’ve had to shoot people, but I never Knew and loved since 11. And neither did one that meowed with two legs.”

Had the government declared a cat bite, I would have strongly considered direct action, or at least barricading all doors and windows, to protect it with all the means at my disposal. We were all compelled to make sacrifices for the greater human good, but mass slaughter of innocent animals would have been very difficult. We are a nation of animal lovers, sometimes at the expense of our humanity. My French friends blame this on the fact that so many of our children’s books are anthropomorphic.

Then again, hardly anything in life has satisfied me as much as owning that kitten. As I wrote in my book, The Year of the Cat, at times during that strange, gloomy year it felt like the kitten stood between me and a complete breakdown. There was one particular week when I couldn’t get out of bed, and Mackerel came and lay down meowing by my side. I choose to believe that she knew I needed rest, but it is true that she could have been plotting to eat my corpse.

Some believe the British public may be inclined to forget the unnecessary deaths of so many of their fellow humans for once in the privacy of a polling booth, but a kitten? Surely it would have been election suicide for the Tories. (Just remember the rage at the lady who put him in the wheelie bin.) Thankfully, I was never put in the position to choose, as cats never pose much of a risk to us.

Yet I almost wrote this lying down despite my back pain, because the cat was sleeping in the office chair and I didn’t want to move it. In the end I bribed him with Dreamies, but it wouldn’t be the first time I risked my health for him — how many bladder infections, I wonder, are caused by cat owners stuck in naps? After all, we all know that cats rule the world. Toxoplasmosis to blame, I guess.

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