The first ever “First Cat of New Zealand” has died after being hit by a car near the prime minister’s home in Auckland.
When Jacinda Ardern became New Zealand’s new prime minister last month she also brought with her a polydactyl cat, named Paddles.
The cat had opposable thumbs and quickly became a social media presence.
Its @FirstCatofNZ Twitter account was started just days after Ardern was declared the prime minister-elect on 19 October. The cat’s Twitter bio read: “Have thumbs, will tweet.”
Paddles was also responsible for nearly derailing Ardern’s first phone call with US President Donald Trump when the cat came into the lounge meowing loudly.
A spokesman for the prime minister said the ginger cat, adopted from the Royal New Zealand Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), was hit by a car near Ardern’s Point Chevalier home and killed on Tuesday.
The driver of the car told a local who then took the cat to a vet, the New Zealand Herald reported. The vet declared the cat dead.
Adern wrote on Facebook: “To anyone who has ever lost a pet, you’ll know how sad we feel. Paddles was much loved, and not just by us.
“Thanks for everyone’s thoughts. And on behalf of Paddles, please be kind to the SPCA. They found her before we did, and we will always be grateful for that.”
The person manning Paddles’ Twitter account said the cat’s “father”, Ardern’s partner Clarke Gayford, wanted gifts of condolences to be made in the form of a donation to the SPCA.
On Twitter, Paddles’ loyal followers have started giving tributes and
The dog of the US ambassador to New Zealand, Scott Brown, was among them.
There were also calls for a state funeral to be afforded to the “spiritual leader” of New Zealand.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010
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