Debate about Napier City Council's decision to send a new $41 million aquatic centre to tender has been furious, but amid the fire, one burning question has been left unanswered.

If the new complex goes ahead, what will happen to the Onekawa Pool cat?

Kaiti, the Napier Aquatic Centre's furry feline friend, has been a beloved part of the furniture for nearly 10 years.

Shelby Nikora, a previous lifeguard and swim teacher at the centre, said her grandfather Rota Nikora had "come across the beautiful Kaiti" one day.

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Swim instructor Chi Yeh looks after Kaiti, who's thought to be 12 years old now. Photo / Warren Buckland
Swim instructor Chi Yeh looks after Kaiti, who's thought to be 12 years old now. Photo / Warren Buckland

"I think she might have been a stray cat," she said.

Rota Nikora, now deceased, was also an ex-employee of the pool.

"He would take care of Kaiti and feed her … he even made a little cat door for her to get into his workshop at the centre," Shelby said.

"She and my Papa were very good friends."

Shelby, who had been living abroad for the past seven years, was elated to learn Kaiti was still around after seeing a post about her on the Napier News Facebook page.

"It's good to see she's still keeping an eye on the place," she said.

The Facebook post, which had attracted 79 likes and 23 comments, showed a lot of love for the pool pussycat, who's thought to be 12 years old.

Onekawa pool cat Kaiti poses for a photo with lifeguard Tracy Jones. Photo / Warren Buckland
Onekawa pool cat Kaiti poses for a photo with lifeguard Tracy Jones. Photo / Warren Buckland

One person even suggested she would vote for Kaiti were the cat to run in the upcoming council elections.

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"He's got our backs and will follow on to the next place with his team," another person said.

A Napier City Council spokesperson would not say whether the wellbeing of Kaiti was included in the council's Long Term Plan.

But the spokesperson did promise that "Kaiti is very well cared for and loved by the staff here".

"Kaiti goes where we go; she's part of our team."

Kaiti did not want to comment on her potential predicament and reluctantly posed for a photo.