Wellington police said a "catastrophe was averted" when Mittens was temporarily detained for questioning yesterday morning after being spotted dangerously crossing roads.
The cat, also known as Mittens the Cat of Wellington, was brought in by Sergeant Janine Davie after he was seen nonchalantly crossing the road by the city's library, Wellington District Police said in a social media post.
He was asked to accompany police for questioning and had his details checked.
The feline was released without charge and instead let go with a warning to be safe when crossing the roads.
While Mitten was detained, he was treated with a bowl of water and some "purrfect pats" with Constable Sam van der Horst and colleagues.
Some Wellingtorians questioned police's tactics, with one writing he should have been under arrest for "too much cuteness".
"I think Mittens should of been tested for catnip before his release," one person wrote.
Another asked: "Did Mittens report the 'murder' he committed last night? That poor mouse that suddenly became a snack."
"I knew it, all gingers are suspicious," another added.
Mittens is a well-known cat around the Wellington community as he roams the city and invites himself into restaurants, shops, and people's flats.
The 8-year-old Turkish angora's owner, Silvio Bruinsma, said Mittens is well cared for and doesn't need help or food, he's just a cat who gets around.
"He's been a roamer all his life," said Bruinsma, who lives on The Terrace with his wife and Mittens' brother, Latte.
The couple used to live in Auckland, where Mittens would often wander, making his way to the local New World, prowling through retirement villages, and perusing the produce at the fresh grocer's market.
Now they live in the middle of the city, Mittens' usual haunts have changed a bit.
"There was a rock bar somewhere on Cuba St and he had been sitting there on the counter all night watching people have drinks," said Bruinsma.
The bar staff called him at 2am, using the phone number on Mittens' collar, saying they were shutting up shop and asking if the cat could go home.
One woman Bruinsma had been chatting to about his cat asked what he looked like, then revealed she had held him on her lap while having a haircut in a salon in town the other day.
"He's just one of those kind of cats who just owns the show and just goes up to people for the entertainment," Bruinsma said.
His brother Latte never goes more than 20m from home, but Mittens wanders up to 1.5-2km away, though usually returns home at the end of the day.
"I get called at all hours of the day," Bruinsma said. Luckily, Mittens has only been dropped at the SPCA twice.
"My philosophy with cats is you can keep your cat inside but if you have a cat inside and they want to get outside then they're not really living a quality life."
In his travels, Mittens regularly visits the local church, and it is not uncommon for him to be spotted relaxing in a class full of students at the local uni.
"He just sits up front, next to the teacher."
Mittens is "extremely friendly" and will happily go up to people for a pat.
There has been an influx of social media posts about Mittens recently, with people taking to the Vic Deals Facebook page to ask if anyone knows who Mittens belongs to and whether he is okay.
Some commenters have criticised Bruinsma for allowing his cat to wander the city, saying it could be dangerous for him.
"I can understand people who don't know that cat, that they would get worried about it," he said.
But Mittens is confident in town and has been wandering for some time now without getting into trouble.
"He always makes his way home.
"He's just going about his business, enjoying his life."
Mittens has gained a massive following on his Facebook page, having more than 7000 fans.
Bruinsma said it was "quite interesting" his cat was becoming so popular with so many strangers, and was glad it was "positive news rather than negative news".