Having a mayor in a city or town is important because the person will be the chief executive officer responsible for the town’s general welfare, including the residents and the town’s goals. This includes enforcing all ordinances concerning the city’s governance and implementing its programs, projects, services, and activities. And without one, a place won’t function properly.
But what if I tell you a cat held the highest-ranking official and became the honorary mayor of an Alaskan town for 20 years?
Yes. You read that right. A Mayor cat.
Meet Stubbs the cat, the Honorary Mayor of Talkeetna, a tiny town in Alaska with fewer than 900 residents.
So how did Stubbs the cat become Talkeetna’s Mayor?
In 1997, the residents were unhappy as they believed no human candidate was worthy enough to lead. That time, Lauri Stec, Nagley’s General Store’s manager, found a box full of kittens and selected a ginger kitten without a tail, dubbing him “Stubbs.”
Without a mayor, the townspeople decided to write Stubbs, still a kitten back then, on the ballot. He became a write-in candidate or someone whose name does not appear on the official ballot.
Remarkably, Stubbs, the cat, became the honorary mayor for 20 years, a tourist attraction, and a beloved town symbol. As a mayor, he had his own office, which was at Nagley’s General Store. He also liked to drink water and catnip from a margarita glass.
Hundreds of tourists would stop by to see him do his daily duties. And over 75% of them would ask, ‘Where’s the mayor?’ or say, ‘I have an appointment with the mayor.’
You might be wondering how a cat was able to run the city. Stubbs, being a cat, could only become a honorary mayor. Honorary mayors cannot make any legal decisions. However, they are still a very public figure and can be involved in things like ceremonies and events.
Mayor Stubbs led a problem-free reign until a neighborhood dog attacked him on August 31, 2013. The vicious attack left poor Mayor Stubbs with deep cuts, a punctured lung, and broken bones. Thankfully, he survived and resumed his mayoral duties.
In 2015, he started cutting back on visits to the store and retreated from public life as he grew older. By late 2016, he mainly stayed at home instead of being out at his office.
Unfortunately, Mayor Stubbs died peacefully in his sleep on July 21, 2017, at the age of 20 years and three months. His owners said, “He was a trooper until the end of his life.”
Although Stubbs is gone, his owners mentioned that Denali, one of their adopted kittens, might be ready to assume the mayoral role.