The Cat Who Held The Honorary Position Of Mayor In An Alaskan Town For Nearly 20 Years

It's not normal for politicians to have near purr-fect approval ratings. And while they may be known to kiss babies and indulge in the occasional cocktail, they're not often seen getting scratches (a.k.a. scritches) on the head, or drinking catnip-laced water from wine and martini glasses (via Smithsonian Magazine). It's also not necessarily seen as typical for them to be covered in fur and weigh less than 20 pounds, nor rule from birth. But that's the story of Mayor Stubbs, who reigned for 18 years in the historic district of Talkeetna, Alaska, which only has a population of about 900 — 900 humans, anyway.

Mayor Stubbs was not in fact a tiny, hairy man-child that everyone had loved since his infancy. No, he was a yellow-orange tabby cat (which many people call an "orange cat") who held political office for nearly two decades (via CNN). He was named Stubbs because he did not have a tail and not much came between him and his people, aside from the occasional afternoon cat nap (via CNN). That, and a brutal assassination attempt.

Stubbs' story

Stubbs won his first election when he was just one of a sea of kittens up for adoption, in a cardboard box (via Smithsonian Magazine) in front of Talkeetna, Alaska's local Nagley's General Store (via CNN). That was in 1998, when people in town wrote-in Stubbs' name for mayor, because they were unhappy with their human options. That's the story anyway, but realistically, the town is a historic district that doesn't have a true mayor, making Mayor Stubbs a purely symbolic figure. Locals ran with the story, however, because it brought in local tourism and media attention.

He never raised taxes, because the historic district has no sales tax (via CNN). He regularly visited and supported local establishments, like restaurants and pizzerias. The only thing he was ever faulted for was sleeping and drinking on the job — catnip-laced water from margarita and wine glasses, to be precise. Stubbs was even written-in as a candidate for Alaska's 2014 United States senator race, but lost. Everyone respected Mayor Stubbs' authority, even the wild dogs who live in the town, outnumbering the humans. All but one dog respected him, anyway.

The Fate of Mayor Stubbs

Mayor Stubbs ruled over Talkeetna, Alaska with a fluffy paw for 18 years, until his death in July 2017 (via Smithsonian Magazine). Very few politicians can say they never raised taxes, were loved by all, and survived an assassination attempt, but he could (via CNN). In 2013, Mayor Stubbs was attacked by a large, local dog, and was left with a punctured lung, fractured sternum and five-inch gash on his side. He survived the ordeal, after spending a few days under medical attention and breathing through a chest tube.

He continued his mayoral duties for four years, until his death, but he did apparently slow down later in life. After the thousands of dollars in medical bills, and the traumatic experience, Mayor Stubbs began visiting his home-away-from-home at the General Store less and less. Despite his declining health and public presence, the town shed endless adoration for their beloved mayor, until his very last days.