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New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern mourns the “First Cat of NZ”, dead in a car accident

This cat had a Twitter account with 11,000 followers called “First Cat of NZ” because the owner was the prime minister in New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern.Paddles, the ginger moggy of Jacinda Ardern, was well-known for having an extra thumb-like toe on each of its front legs (a polydactyl cat).

Paddles was also responsible for nearly derailing Ardern’s first phone call with US President Donald Trump when the cat came into the lounge meowing loudly. The cat was adopted from the Royal New Zealand Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and had a good life in the house of Arden bu a tragic event occurred: the cat was hit by a car near Ardern’s Point Chevalier home and killed on Tuesday.

Paddles-the-cat
Paddles, the cat

“To anyone who has ever lost a pet, you’ll know how sad we feel. Paddles was much loved, and not just by us. Thanks for everyone’s thoughts,” New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Arden wrote on Facebook. On Twitter, Paddles’ loyal followers have started giving tributes and condolences. Don’t be confused: the dog of the US ambassador to New Zealand, Scott Brown, was among them. There were also calls for a state funeral. A polydactyl cat is a cat with a congenital physical anomaly that causes the cat to be born with more than the usual number of toes on one or more of its paws. Nobel Prize-winning author Ernest Hemingway was a famous aficionado of polydactyl cats, after being first given a six-toed cat by a ship's captain. Because of his love for these animals, polydactyl cats are sometimes referred to as "Hemingway Cats."

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