Paddles, Prime Minister of New Zealand’s Cat is Run Over

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 Ardern and cat Paddles
Jacinda Ardern and cat Paddles. Photo: Paddles Twitter account, presumed by Jacinda. RIP.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

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):

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.

11 thoughts on “Paddles, Prime Minister of New Zealand’s Cat is Run Over”

  1. RIP lovely little kitten. 💔 I moved out to the country, whereby I can rescue more cats and they can be safe on my land. The trade-off is the impact on wildlife. As for cats in populated areas, I am ambivalent about caging them in. Like people, each has his or her own personality. Some simply do not take to indoor living. I have experienced that personally.

    • Even when we had an overpopulation of cats via my SIL and her ignorant refusal to S/N there was no significant dip in wildlife population birds or land critters after the first year. The animals adapt to predation. Something that is rarely discussed by cat hating wildlife advocates.

    • I agree it is tricky. But in NZ I’d expect that houses come with decent sized gardens so why not make the entire garden a cat enclosure?

      • Possibly, but I doubt I could afford something like that. As for predation on wildlife, I have not seen a wren for several years. 😢However, I have created islands of refuge using impenetrable 2 inch by 3 inch 6 foot heavy wire fencing. Birds know they are safe there, and it is inexpensive.

      • I put up cat proof/ bird safe feeders and even when we had the colony outside the bird population was increasing in size and variety.
        There are plans for catios that range in size from extended window ledges to full yard enclosures. It quite reminds me of the cretins out here who let their dogs roam at large with the claim they can’t afford to fence in 20 acres of land. Well duh then fence in a decent sized enclose you can afford.
        There is also more and more cat safe fencing available and some of it can attach to existing fences.

  2. WAIT!!!! How does the PRIME MINISTER of New “cat hating” Zealand have a cat that she loves if that country is so well known for wanting to be RID of all feral cats?! HOW?! Is she new? Are they not going ahead with their death to cats campaign? Did someone intentionally kill her cat???? What is going on, New Zealand?!?!

    • Yes, there is a section of society in NZ who want rid of feral cats. But there are also lots of cat loving owners. I think the PM made a bad mistake in letting her cat roam and then killed. It sets a bad example. Just my personal view.

  3. But it died of that much desired and sought-after loving and humane TNR attrition that makes TNR work to reduce cat populations. It’s what you ALL clamour for.

    How can this in any way be a bad thing? The Prime Minister was just proving, showing, and advertising how well that TNR works. Nothing more than that. Everyone should be very proud of her. Why are you not? SMH

    • As usual, Woody, you miss the point totally. TNR concerns feral cats. It is the best way to deal with feral cats. In this instance a domestic cat was allowed to roam. It is a completely different subject. However, I agree that domestic cat should not be allowed to roam. This is a personal choice and I agree that they should be kept in a garden enclosure if appropriate. But please do not conflate two entirely different subjects. You do that to further your objectives which are to kill feral cats.


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