Published: Thu, November 09, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Paddles, New Zealand PM's 'first cat', dies in auto crash

Paddles, New Zealand PM's 'first cat', dies in auto crash

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Adern has revealed her grief following the accidental death of her pet cat "Paddles".

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 vehicle near Ardern's Point Chevalier home and killed on Tuesday.

Confirming that the cat had passed away, Ms Ardern said anyone who ever lost a pet will "know how sad we feel".

The cat was by Ms Ardern's side for many of her pivotal political moments, including interrupting her phone call with US President Donald Trump.

"Thanks for everyone's thoughts".

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The ginger cat was adopted from the Royal New Zealand Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and was well-known for her polydactyl abnormality, which meant she had extra claws that looked like thumbs.

Shortly after she took office, Paddles' Twitter account was created.

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Paddles, who had six toes on each foot, became an internet sensation in October when the @FirstCatofNZ Twitter feed launched.

The driver who hit Paddles told one of Ms Ardern's neighbours in the Auckland suburb and they searched for her hoping she was just unconscious. The cat's Twitter bio read: "Have thumbs, will tweet".

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It also stated she was 'Not affurliated with Labour Pawty'.

Paddles' Twitter mentions have been flooded with kind messages.

Ms Ardern's partner Clarke Gayford said "that bloody cat" came "flying through the cat flap" during the call.

On Instagram, Ms Ardern said Paddles was much loved.

Newshub reported that several donations flowed into the SPCA.

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