National MP Andrew Falloon's cat tweet rivals Donald Trump, Kim Kardashian

Donald Trump, Andrew Falloon and Kim Kardashian.
Donald Trump, Andrew Falloon and Kim Kardashian. Photo credit: Twitter / Newshub / File

A National MP's tweet about a cat has gone viral, picking up more likes than recent tweets by Donald Trump and Kim Kardashian.

Andrew Falloon, MP for Rangitata, posted a tweet on Saturday about his father recovering from an operation while cuddled up to a cat. 

The 36-year-old published an image of his father asleep on a couch with a cat sprawled across him - its paws held by Falloon's father's hands.

Falloon accompanied it with the caption: "My Dad is recovering from an operation. Mum went out and left a door slightly ajar. My parents do not have a cat."

The tweet has since exploded online, racking up more than 400,000 likes, over 5000 comments and over 65,000 re-tweets - and Falloon only has around 2000 followers.

"Cats choose you," one person commented, while another said: "Well I'm sorry to be the one to tell you this but your dad is now the property of that cat."

The tweet received more likes than most by Kim Kardashian who has 60.4 million followers on Twitter and US President Donald Trump who has 59.7 million followers.

Trump's popular tweets usually gather up to 200,000 likes and Kardashian is about the same - her tweet on Friday about her niece True's 1st birthday received almost 200,000 likes.

That's half the amount of likes Falloon's tweet received.

The MP, who is currently in Manila, told Newshub he had to explain to his father what social media was and then explain to him what it meant to go viral.

"First I had to explain to him what social media was, and so that was quite a process, and then explaining what going viral means."

Asked if his father felt like a Kardashian with all the social media attention, Falloon said he would have to explain to his father who they were, too.

"I consulted with my wife Rose, and apparently it's not quite the level of Kim, but maybe Caitlyn," he said, referring to Kardashian's step-father, Caitlyn Jenner.

Asked if he's more popular than National leader Simon Bridges, Falloon said he suggested to his boss that "we get a cat on the campaign committee - it could go very well for us".

Falloon said the cat in the image is from the neighbourhood. He told Newshub it "does get around a bit" and that it had "shown up a couple of times".

National MP Andrew Falloon.
National MP Andrew Falloon. Photo credit: Twitter / Andrew Falloon

"The main thing for the tweet was I thought it might make a few people smile and clearly it's done that."

He said the cat had never got up on his dad's lap and had a nap on him, "so that was a first, but it does get around a bit that cat".

"It lives nearby, and apparently its name is Ziggy," he said, adding that while his father isn't a "huge cat person", that's now "what he's known for".

"He was as shocked as anyone when he saw how big it has gone on Twitter. I have not gone near Twitter for about two days so I'm getting my wife to check on it occasionally - but the notifications have absolutely exploded."

He said his father is now on the mend, having been treated at Ashburton Hospital, who he said "treated him very well".

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has a large Twitter following for a New Zealand politician. But Falloon's tweet did even better than when Ardern announced her pregnancy last year, which got over 25,000 likes. 

Former Prime Minister Bill English's controversial Facebook post about putting spaghetti on pizza received over 10,000 likes.