When Jacinda Arden became the prime minister of New Zealand, she became the second youngest person to become the country's prime minister and she's currently the youngest female world leader at the age of 37. She also brought into office with her a polydactyl cat named Paddles.
Sadly, the beloved six-toed cat passed away on Nov. 7 after it was hit by a car.
"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. 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," Arden wrote on Instagram.
Before her untimely death, Paddles shot to worldwide fame after taking Twitter by storm. Many of her faithful followers were heart-broken to hear the news:
So sad to hear that Paddles @FirstCatofNZ has used all her lives. There must be a huge gap in the lives of her house staff currently. So sorry for your loss, it must be awful currently for you. Hugs— Jo Komisarczuk (@the_JoK) November 8, 2017
Tweeting from @FirstCatofNZ, Paddles launched her account on Oct. 21, just after Arden was declared the prime minister-elect on Oct. 19. Her Twitter bio reads, "First Cat of New Zealand. Have thumbs, will tweet. Not affurliated with Labour Pawty."
Hi, I'm Paddles and I am the First Cat of New Zealand. I have opposable thumbs, I'm purrty special. pic.twitter.com/MPkxdhWCRu— Paddles (@FirstCatofNZ) October 21, 2017
After launching her account, Paddles received a welcome from Larry, the official mouser for 10 Downing Street in the U.K.:
@FirstCatofNZ Welcome to the party.— Larry the Cat (@Number10cat) October 24, 2017
Paddles was also greeted by Gracie, the yorkie who accompanies the U.S. ambassador to New Zealand, Scott Brown:
Apparently Paddles occasionally caused a little bit of trouble for Clarke Gayford, Arden's partner and fishing show personality:
WTF Paddles?! I KNEW you were pretend sleeping when I just checked.— Clarke Gayford (@NZClarke) October 21, 2017
....There's Snapper in the fridge. pic.twitter.com/BmlQwHl455
There's just one thing about Paddles' Twitter account: No one knows who started it.
"There is indeed an account in the name of my cat and I have no idea who has created it," Arden told NewsHub. But she's pleased Paddles has an unofficial account all the same.
Speculation on the identity of Paddles' PR (or PuRr) human has focused on Gayford, but the person behind the account spoke to RNZ and denied being Gayford. What little RNZ managed to learn is that the PR man — and it is a man — is more of a dog person and doesn't typically vote for the Labour Party, to which Arden belongs. But Paddles and Arden transcended his typical preferences.
"I do like animals either way, and I do like Jacinda, and I like how much she loves her cat. It's very cute. I noticed during the campaign she would do Instagram stories and Paddles was in them, and I was just loving that."
Rest in peace, Paddles.
Editor's note: This story has been updated with new information since it was originally published.