A kitten that held up Auckland's Southern Motorway this morning shut all citybound lanes as morning traffic was at its peak.

The black and white feline was spotted on the Newmarket flyover, huddling against the barrier at about 9am.

Police had to briefly shut the northbound lanes and traffic crawled through Greenlane as the cat ran amok.

The New Zealand Transport Agency warned the cat rescue had caused major delays in the area.

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A police spokeswoman said the cat managed to slip past officers.

It ran into the bushes on Gilles Avenue and the road was reopened.

It's not the first time police have come to the rescue of a cat on the Southern Motorway.

A similar incident happened in November last year when officers saved another kitten in the same area.

Waitemata police today posted a cute picture of the little grey tabby, affectionately dubbed Khyber, soon after he was rescued.

Little Khyber making himself at home in the back of a police car after he was rescued from the Southern Motorway near Newmarket three months ago. Photo / Police
Little Khyber making himself at home in the back of a police car after he was rescued from the Southern Motorway near Newmarket three months ago. Photo / Police

Khyber was adopted by a policeman and has grown into a healthy cat who doesn't mind bossing the family dog around.

Police urged drivers who saw the kitten at the centre of today's failed rescue not to stop, but instead call police on 111 so they could remove it safely from the motorway.