Less than 24 hours after Judith Collins was announced as the new National Party leader, she is mourning the loss of her dear cat Minnie.

Taking to Twitter this evening, Collins shared the heartbreaking news with friends, family and followers, paying tribute to her fur baby of 17-and-a-half years.

"Dear Twitter friends," she wrote.

"Minnie Collins, aged 17 and a half years has passed away. Poor darling."

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Friends and followers have sent messages of support for the new National leader, with many empathising with Collins.

"So sorry for your loss of your fur baby Judith," one wrote.

Another said: "Oh no. You've had such a year of it with losing your gorgeous pets Judith. Sorry to hear this. Hugs to all."

Collins and her family have endured a tough 2020, with the National leader's pet dog the first to pass away.

In April, Collins said "we are heartbroken. Holly had a stroke and passed away. She was a much-loved dog who added so much love to our family."

Collins isn't the first Member of Parliament to lose a pet in recent years.

In 2017, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's "First Cat" Paddles died after being hit by a car.

The driver told a local, who went to look for Paddles, and found her at the PM's property.

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Hoping the cat was merely unconscious, the woman took Paddles to a vet who declared Paddles dead. "I'm pretty upset," the neighbour said.

Paddles the much loved
Paddles the much loved "First Cat" was a local hero and an international celebrity.

"She's very much part of the neighbourhood. Most people around here would know who she is."

At the time Ardern encouraged people grieving for Paddles to support the SPCA.

Ardern said on Facebook: "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."