New Zealand’s much loved “first cat,” Paddles, was hit by a car on Tuesday night.
Paddles’ owner, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, confirmed that the cat was killed on Facebook, writing, “To anyone who has ever lost a pet, you’ll know how sad we feel.”
“Paddles was much loved, and not just by us,” she continued. “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.”
Paddles was not just famous because her mom runs a country, but also because the ginger cat had an polydactyl abnormality, meaning she had extra claws that looked like thumbs.
Paddles recently became internet famous and at the time of her death had over 11,000 followers on Twitter.
Paddles was present during Ardern’s important political moments, including interrupting her phone call with President Donald Trump, according to an essay written for The Spinoff by Ardern’s partner, Clarke Gayford.
“She leapt up onto the chair next to Jacinda and began announcing her very squawky arrival,” Gayford wrote.
“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.”
Several people expressed their shock and sadness on social media, sending well wishes to Paddles’ Twitter account. Newshub. reported several donations flowed into the SPCA (where Ardern adopted Paddles), at the prime minister and Gayford’s request.
“We are thankful that Jacinda and [partner Clarke Gayford] asked the public to donate to us in Paddles’ memory,” an SPCA spokesperson told Newshub. “These donations will go toward helping rescue other kittens like Paddles.”