Dog attack returns Talkeetna's cat mayor to national spotlight

Zaz Hollander
Photo courtesy Lauri Stec

Stubbs, the honorary "Mayor Cat" of Talkeetna with an international following, was badly injured in a weekend dog attack and remains hospitalized at a Wasilla-area veterinary practice.

A loose dog mauled the 16-year-old beige-orange tabby as it walked through town on Saturday, leaving Stubbs with a large gash, a fractured sternum and a punctured lung, his owner said.

Stubbs by late afternoon Tuesday was heavily medicated but doing well after his chest tube was removed, owner Lauri Stec said from Nagley's General Store, where she works as manager and Stubbs is a regular fixture at the counter.

"He's doing good with it," Stec said. "He's coming out. He ate a little bit."

Stubbs gained fame last year after an Anchorage television station reported he'd been elected mayor of Talkeetna as a write-in candidate 15 years ago. Talkeetna doesn't even have a mayor. Nonetheless, the story went national. Stubbs now has his own Wikipedia entry and Facebook page.

This week, Stec was fielding offers for help and requests for interviews from all over. CNN called just before noon Tuesday. The Washington Post beat them to it. People from around the country are offering to donate money to defray the cost of vet bills.

Stec said she's put up a collection jar on the counter at Nagley's and plans to donate any money that's left over after medical bills are paid to the Mat-Su Borough Animal Shelter.

Stubbs has survived past injuries, though none as severe as the dog-attack wounds.

About five years ago, two teenagers with a BB gun shot the cat, leaving a BB in his rear that's still there. Three years ago he hitched a ride on a garbage truck and jumped off at an Alaska Railroad crossing about a half-mile from home.

Two years ago, Stubbs suffered mild shock after falling into a cold fryer vat at the West Rib Pub next door to Nagley's. He spent the night at the vet's when a Dawn dish soap bath didn't get him totally clean.

"He's an adventurous guy," Stec said.

She hasn't seen Stubbs since he made the 90-minute trip to Big Lake-Susitna Veterinary Hospital Saturday night. The vet discouraged visits to keep the cat as calm as possible. Instead, Stec is following his progress through photos. She'll get to visit him on Thursday afternoon.

Stec said she hopes the borough takes action against the dog that attacked Stubbs. Cats are free-roaming, she said. Dogs fall under leash laws.

She called the publicity about the attack on Stubbs "a wake-up call for people to be more responsible for their animals, no matter where they're at, whether it's Talkeetna or New York City."

"(The dog) just happened to maul a cat that's famous," Stec said.

To make a donation, call Nagley's at (907) 733-3663 or send donations to Nagley's General Store, Stubbs, P.O. Box 906, Talkeetna AK, 99676.