New Zealand’s ‘First Cat’ was killed in a car accident – and the tributes are pouring in

Paddles with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in a Twitter post on Oct 23.

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

The so-called “First Cat of New Zealand” was a 12-month-old rescue cat known for sporting opposable thumbs and rose to fame after a Twitter account set up in her name attracted over 11,600 followers in less than a month.

Ms Ardern became New Zealand’s 40th prime minister on Oct 26 this year.

Paddles’ antics made the news after she almost interrupted Ms Ardern’s first phone call with US President Donald Trump last month, before being shooed out of the room.

On Twitter, her profile read “First Cat of New Zealand. Have thumbs, will tweet” and famously tweeted through her cypher known as “PR Guy”.

She also exuded attitute in claiming to be independent of Ms Ardern’s political party: “Not affurliated with Labour Pawty.”

Ms Ardern’s partner, TV show host Clarke Gayford, asked that donations be made to the New Zealand Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in memory of Paddles as the cat had come from there.

Ms Ardern made an announcement on Facebook expressing how sad a time it’s been for her, calling for kindness towards the SPCA.

Tributes also poured in from social media users around the world., including one from US ambassador Scott Brown’s dog named Gracie.