When residents of Talkeetna, Alaska (population: less than 1,000) weren't thrilled with their choices for mayor in 1997, a majority wrote in the name "Stubbs." The only glitch was that Stubbs was a cat. A kitty, actually, that was born that year.
That's the story Talkeetnans tell, anyway. Talkeetna doesn't actually have a mayor. But the townsfolk took a liking to the orange cat, found in the parking lot of Nagley's General Store and taken in by its owner, and decided the feline should be the town's honorary official. Stubbs, so-named because he only had the stub of a tail, got the job, a Facebook page and lots of love and attention to boot [sources: Peterson, Campbell].
Stubbs retired from public life in 2015, due to old age. He died in 2017, having served Talkeetna faithfully for 20 years. "He was a trouper until the very last day of his life," his owners wrote in a statement announcing his passing. "You are are a remarkable cat and we will dearly miss you" [source: Levin].
Author's Note: 10 Cats Who Made History
I'm a dog person, and I'm not ashamed to admit it. I've always felt cats were too sneaky, independent and unsnuggly for my tastes. But a few of the cats in this piece sound pretty darn cool, especially Oscar. If I end up in a hospice, I like the idea of a cat curling up next to me in my final hours, even if I'm not conscious. Poor little All Ball didn't live very long, but he was beloved by Koko the gorilla – an animal that has always intrigued me – and I remember mourning his death in 1985 along with Koko. I'm thrilled to learn she now has not one, but two, new kitties to love.
More Great LInks
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HowStuffWorks looks at a new report from the American Association of Feline Practitioners about how to feed your cat for optimal health.