As Paddles, the erstwhile First Cat of New Zealand, goes to the stars, the Prime Minister's partner has thanked the people for their kind words and gestures.

The cat shot to fame after her owner Jacinda Ardern became Prime Minister, when the Twitter account @FirstCatofNZ was set up in her name.

Paddles had six claws on each paw, giving the appearance of opposable thumbs. She had nearly 12,000 followers on Twitter, where her tagline was "Have thumbs, will tweet".

But her reign as the country's foremost feline was cut cruelly short on November 7 when she was hit and killed by a car.


Paddles' untimely demise devastated fans around the world, with articles appearing in the BBC, the Guardian and Buzzfeed.

A tweet sent a short time ago from Paddles' account simply said: "I am stardust" - a reference to the epithet used in September by then-Prime Minister Bill English to dismiss the hype around Ardern.

Ardern's partner Clarke Gayford tweeted today thanking the New Zealand public for their cards and flowers and for the many donations that had been made to the SPCA in Paddles' memory.