Jacinda Ardern's cat is dubbed First Cat of New Zealand, has its own Twitter page

Newly minted New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's cat now has its own Twitter profile.
Newly minted New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's cat now has its own Twitter profile.PHOTOS: TWITTER/@FIRSTCATOFNZ

New Zealand now has a First Cat, joining the ranks of other felines in paw-erful paw-litical paw-sitions around the world, such as Taiwanese leader Tsai Ing-Wen's cat.

A Twitter account for newly sworn-in Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's cat, Paddles, was set up on Oct 21 and now has more than 7,000 followers.

It is unclear who is behind the account, but Ms Ardern told New Zealand news site Newshub in a report on Tuesday that the account was not run by her partner Clarke Gayford, as widely speculated.

"There is indeed an account in the name of my cat and I have no idea who has created it," she said. "I am quite happy for that person to continue logging on behalf of Paddles, keeping in mind Paddles has thumbs, I can't put it past her it's her own account as well."

Paddles was welcomed by @DiploDogGracie, the "First Dog" of the United States Embassy in New Zealand.

Netizens urged Larry, the well-known cat in London's 10 Downing Street, to greet Paddles, joking it was a matter of diplomacy.

Larry eventually caught on and tweeted a welcome to Paddles on Tuesday, saying: "Welcome to the party."

Other "First Pets" include South Korea President Moon Jae In's dog, Tori, which was the first shelter dog to be named First Dog in Korea.

Taiwanese leader Tsai Ing-Wen is known for her two cats, Think Think and Ah Tsai.


She also adopted three retired guide dogs last year - Bella, Bunny and Maru.

Perhaps the most well-known political pet is Larry the cat, the chief mouser of 10 Downing Street, the headquarters of the British government.

Larry has more than 145,000 followers on Twitter.

Netizens feared that Larry would follow on the heels of former British Prime Minister David Cameron's exit last year, but the 12-year-old cat stayed on into current Prime Minister Theresa May's tenure.