New Zealand’s ‘First Cat’ Paddles was killed after being hit by a car near the prime minister’s home in Auckland on October 7. Last month, when Jacinda Ardern became the prime minister, she brought the ginger polydactyl along with her. The driver of the car, who hit the cat, rushed to a vet but it was declared dead, the New Zealand Herald reported.
Ardern took to Instagram to share the news with the people and wrote, “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 cat, adopted from the Royal New Zealand Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), had quickly become a social media celeb. Going by the name Paddles@FirstCatofNZ the handle and bio that states ‘Paddles Ardern-Gayford. She/her. First Cat of New Zealand. Have thumbs, will tweet. Not affurliated with Labour Pawty. Bullies will be SCRATSCHED/blocked.’ The handle has over 11 thousand followers.
Here’s the first tweet shared by Paddles on Twitter.
Hi, I’m Paddles and I am the First Cat of New Zealand. I have opposable thumbs, I’m purrty special. pic.twitter.com/MPkxdhWCRu
— Paddles (@FirstCatofNZ) October 21, 2017
The person responsible for managing Paddles’s Twitter account requested the followers to offer their ‘gifts of condolences’ by making a donation to SPCA.
Just spoke w Paddles’ Dad, @NZClarke. If you would like to remember Paddles you are most welcome and encouraged to donate to the NZ SPCA. 😽
— Paddles (@FirstCatofNZ) November 7, 2017
Many followers and fans of the cat, including the dog of the US ambassador to New Zealand Scott Brown, shared their condolences on social media. Here are some of the reactions:
My mom, Dad and I are very sorry to hear about @FirstCatofNZ. We will all say a prayer tonight. 🙏
— Gracie Brown (@DiploDogGracie) November 7, 2017
I am so very upset that paddles has passed away. I know the loss and heartache it can have. May he rest in peace with the angels. pic.twitter.com/CIcRpjbY7B
— Bellz Webster (@BellzWebster) November 7, 2017
RIP Paddles, My gorgeous girl Poppy was taken the same way just over a week ago…So So sad 😭💔❤
— Briar (@Briar_Elyse) November 7, 2017
Omg I’m actually devastated!! :(( May Paddles rest easy!!💗💗
— lilly|2 (@grandegranolas) November 7, 2017
RIP Paddles….as a cat lover my heart goes out to you guys, sad times in yr house tonight 😪
— leah (@LeahEdwards73) November 8, 2017
Sorry to hear of Paddles passing. I’m gutted for you guys. Sending you much love!
— Tracey W (@traceywnz) November 8, 2017