Prominent self-declared cat hater Gareth Morgan has taken a vicious swipe at Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern over the death of her beloved moggie Paddles.
As hundreds send messages of sympathy to Ardern and partner Clarke Gayford over the tragic death of the prime puss on a Pt Chevalier road yesterday, The Opportunities Party leader and cat activist has delivered a critical missive on Twitter.
Calling owners of wandering pet cats a curse, he said Ardern's actions to allow her pet to roam and kill showed a "callous disregard" for the country's wildlife.
He also said her cat could still have been alive if she had bought a $200 cat fence to confine the pet on her property.
Asked about Morgan's outburst, Ardern said, "I think I would just describe the situation as sad all round."
Morgan had asked in his tweet if the cat had been out wandering and on the hunt, and if the adoration of Ardern's pet cat reflected the value she put on the country's wildlife.
Morgan tweeted that cats needed to be confined and not allowed to wander on other people's properties, "free to kill at will".
"Their owners are a curse," he posted.
This was followed by another tweet accusing Paddles of being on the hunt. He mistakenly assumed Paddles lived in Wellington.
He was immediately taken to task for his messages, accused of being heartless and in bad taste.
This morning Ardern posted a heartfelt message of thanks on Facebook after tragically losing a pet that was fast becoming an international celebrity.
In it she described the sorrow she was feeling since finding out her cat had been run over.
"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," wrote Ardern.
Gayford today encouraged people to donate to the SPCA to remember Paddles.
The SPCA today said their thoughts were with the Prime Minister and her partner and asked them to take comfort in knowing that by adopting their pet they gave her a life filled with happiness and love.