Many of us have heard of the rescue cat, Paddles, who was owned by New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern. She was a polydactyl cat having six toes on each front paw. She also had 11,700 Twitter followers reports Bernard Lagan of the Times.
Jacinda was distraught when reporting that her one-year-old ginger and white rescue cat had been run over near her home in Auckland. Because Paddles was so well-known there was an outpouring of sympathy and grief from fans worldwide. However, one wag (I have some sympathy with this) said that he hoped that the Prime Minister would do a better job caring for her country and she had for her cat. Without wishing to be overcritical and understanding the desire to let your cat roam freely, it is at the end of the day careless cat ownership to let your cat die on the road especially when you are the Prime Minister of a country and your cat is a celebrity on social media. Either that or you have to take the risk on behalf of your cat that she may be run over.
Gareth Morgan, the well-known New Zealand feral cat hater posted this tweet (which I endorse, I have to say):
To the apologists for the PM's callous disregard of NZ's wildlife,for $200 she could have protected kitty & wildlife https://t.co/zWsaFSUHWk
— Gareth Morgan (@garethmorgannz) November 7, 2017
Jacinda became Prime Minister of New Zealand last month after becoming the leader of the Labour Party in August. Her cat was almost as famous as herself. The Prime Minister wrote on Facebook:
“To anyone who has ever lost a pet, you will know how sad we feel. Paddles was much loved, and not just by us. Thanks for everyone’s thoughts.”
Messages of condolences poured in from around the world such as “rest in peace” and “gone too soon”. The hashtag is #Paddles. Paddles was famous for one incident when she interrupted Jacinda’s first phone call from President Trump in late October. At the time the Prime Minister and her husband Clarke Gayford were at home on Sunday morning. One of Trump’s advisers telephoned ahead to warn them that the president would make a call in 30 minutes time. As the president was being put through Paddles arrived through the cat flap.
“She lept 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.”
May she rest in peace and may the Prime Minister of New Zealand think about installing a cat enclosure in her back garden.
UPDATE: A neighbour, Chris, admitted to Jachinda Ardern that he was the driver in an apologic note to her after he found it the cat belonged to the Prime Minister. Ardern wrote back and hoped that he was okay. That was nice of her.