Published: Thu, November 09, 2017
Global | By Shelia Dennis

Paddles, New Zealand's beloved first cat, dies in tragic accident

Paddles, New Zealand's beloved first cat, dies in tragic accident

New Zealand Prime Minister's Jacinda Ardern's much-loved ginger cat Paddles was killed after being hit by a vehicle on Nov 7, causing an outpour of tributes on social media.

A spokesperson for Ms Ardern confirmed to local media that the so-called "First Cat" Paddles had died in an accident on Tuesday.

'To anyone who has ever lost a pet, you'll know how sad we feel. "[Thank you so much] for loving Paddles, the whole world will mourn her".

On Instagram, Ardern thanked everyone for their thoughts and asked people to "please be kind" to New Zealand's Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

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Paddles was a polydactyle, otherwise known as a cat with extra claws that look like opposable thumbs.

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They have sent flowers and a message to Ms Ardern and her partner Clark Gayford. The cat's Twitter bio read: "Have thumbs, will tweet".

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Ms Ardern's time in Da Nang will also include a speech to a women's forum, breakfast with New Zealand business leaders and a speech at the APEC CEO's forum.

On Twitter, Paddles' followers offered tributes and condolences and some expressed their shock.

Paddles Ardern-Gayford's Twitter biography described her as 'First Cat of New Zealand. She leapt up onto the chair next to Jacinda and began announcing her very squawky arrival. "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 Chevalier".

While many can't believe that something so sad has happened, one thing is for sure - Paddles will certainly be missed.

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Following the death of Paddles, donations to the SPCA have been increasing.

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