Jacinda Ardern's cat, Paddles dies after being hit by car

News 08/11/2017

Jacinda Ardern's cat Paddles has been killed after being hit by a car in the Auckland suburb of Mt Albert.

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister confirmed to Newshub the 'First Cat of New Zealand' sadly passed away on Tuesday.

Paddles, a ginger and white cat with opposable thumbs, had become a celebrity in her own right after a mystery Twitter account was set up in her name.

The polydactyl feline belonged to Ms Ardern and her partner Clarke Gayford.

The admin behind the account says they have been in touch with Mr Gayford about how mourners can help - and now encourages anyone who "who would like to remember Paddles" to donate to the SPCA.

Paddles herself was adopted from the animal rescue charity.

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.

She leapt up onto the chair next to Jacinda and began announcing her very squawky arrival," Mr Gayford told The Spinoff.

"There was a flurry of action as I tried to hustle it into the next room while quite literally the leader of the free world was connected through to our little home in Pt Chev."

Paddles' Twitter bio said she was an "Independent cat- not affurliated with the Labour pawty".

The cat had strong international relations, and had been officially greeted by 'Diplo Dog' Gracie Brown, who is US Ambassador to New Zealand Scott Brown's dog.

Social media reacts

Hundreds of tributes are pouring in for Paddles on social media.

The Twitter account for Ms Brown's dog Gracie says she is "very sorry to hear" the news.

"We will all say a prayer tonight."

The Twitter account for the cat says it is inquiring how people can send cards to the Prime Minister and her partner.