Stubbs, the 16-year-old cat known as the unofficial mayor of Talkeetna, a small Alaska town in the northern Susitna Valley, is back at home and on the mend after being severely mauled by a dog last month. A pain-relief patch on the kitty's paw was removed Tuesday, and his owner hopes Stubbs will continue to improve after suffering life-threatening injuries. Now, a cat-food company has offered to pay most of the animal's veterinary expenses.
Stubbs gained national fame last year. The cat even has a paragraph dedicated to him under the government section of the town of Talkeetna's Wikipedia page. News of his injuries spread rapidly across the Internet. Cards and letters poured in, some from human mayors of other U.S. cities, according to Lauri Stec, the mayor's human companion.
Now another famous cat has lent Stubbs a paw, so to speak. Morris, the famous face of the 9Lives cat food company, has paid for nearly all of the Talkeetna cat's medical bills, which amount to about $3,000. Morris even "created" a get-well card for Stubbs on Facebook. But Stubbs, known for holding court in the tiny, touristy town underneath Mount McKinley, isn't living the good life yet.
"He's really pissed at me now," said Stec. "He cried and bit as I was trying to remove his (pain) patch."
Stubbs is still wary of contact after being bitten and surviving deep gashes to his side. Stec said she believes the dog that attacked her cat is no longer in town.
Just keeping up with the public attention is difficult for Stec. Cards, letters, emails, and phone calls keep pouring into Nagley's General Store, which Stec manages and where Stubbs typically can be found. Some come from as far away as Australia and Germany. People began donating money for mounting medical bills soon after news broke about the dog attack. Now that 9Lives has donated most of the money needed to cover the vet bills, Stec said she would donate the money to the Mat-Su Animal Shelter and a local vet who helped get Stubbs to a clinic in Big Lake, about an hour south of Talkeetna.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is also sending Stubbs a gift basket. But along with some cat goodies, the animal rights organization also sent Stec some unwanted advice -- that Stubbs should not be let outside anymore.
"I will be closely monitoring him, but when he feels better, he will be let outside," said Stec. "He's been roaming Talkeetna since he was a kitten. Caging him up inside would kill him."
Stubb's penchant for sipping catnip-laced water from a wine glass is on hold for now, though. While he recovers, Stubbs will be on a strict food-and-water-only diet.
"But when he recovers, he's set," said Stec. "I just got a package of organic catnip donated to us from someone in Canada, so he's set."
Contact Sean Doogan at sean(at)alaskadispatch.com