Alaska town roots for feline mayor attacked by dog

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The honorary mayor of a tiny Alaska town is noticeably absent this week, when he should be hanging out at the general store or sipping his water-catnip concoctions from a wine glass at the pub next door.

Instead, Stubbs the cat is sedated and under veterinary care after he was badly injured in a vicious dog attack in Talkeetna, a quirky community of 900 that elected him in a write-in campaign 15 years ago. Talkeetna has no human mayor, so you could say 16-year-old Stubbs is the reigning leader — of the feline sort, anyway.

“He’s everybody’s guy,” said Stubbs’ owner, Lauri Stec, who manages Nagley’s General Store, where the orangey-beige cat lives and mingles with locals and tourists alike. Saturday’s attack by the loose dog left Stubbs with a punctured lung, bruised hips, a long deep gash on his side and a sternum fractured to the point it might need to be repaired with a plate.

Stec, who said she knows the dog that was involved, has reported the attack with borough animal control officials.

The next few days will be crucial in Stubbs’ recovery, but the cat has begun to sit up and eat. A tube inserted in his lung has been removed. All in all, Stubbs is holding his own, Stec said.

“He’s a freaking tough boy,” she said.

Stubbs, already popular nationally, gained even more fans outside of Alaska when word got out about the attack. Among his followers are tourists stopping in the community that serves as the last stop for travelers and climbers visiting Mount McKinley, North America’s tallest peak.

The town, 115 miles north of Anchorage, is purported to be the inspiration for the town in the TV series, “Northern Exposure.” It’s a place dotted with artist shops, where bachelors are auctioned off at a yearly fundraiser ball and where women compete in a wilderness contest.

Even in such a place, Stubbs is a star.

“We all love him,” said Geoff Pfeiffer, a waiter at the West Rib Pub and Cafe located inside the same building as the general store. The staff there is hanging on to Stubbs’ wine glass, hoping they get to fill it again with water and a catnip garnish, a feline cocktail for a regular who commands attention every time he comes in.

“It’s like Elvis has entered the building,” Pfeiffer said.

Stubbs has his own Facebook page, filled with posts this week from well-wishers around the world. There is also a Twitter account purporting to be from Stubbs, but Stec said she’s not involved with that account. Attempts by The Associated Press to reach the account owner weren’t immediately successful Thursday.

Before Saturday, Stubbs had already used up a few of his nine lives. In the past, he has been shot by a BB gun, and still has a BB lodged inside. He’s fallen into a cold fryer vat at the West Rib when the staff was changing the oil. He rode on a garbage truck before jumping off.

“He’s a little pistol,” Stec said. “He’s got a great personality.”

She’s not alone in thinking that. Donations from well-wishers as far away as Australia have been pouring in for Stubbs’ veterinary bills. There’s also a jar for donations at the general store placed near a photo of Stubbs.

More in Local News

Young woman missing from Mukilteo found safe

She called her parents and told them she was at a museum in Seattle.

Mom and brother turn in suspect in Stanwood robberies

The man is suspected of robbing the same gas station twice, and apologizing to the clerk afterward.

Derrick “Wiz” Crawford, 22, is a suspect in the homicide of his roommate. (Edmonds Police Department)
Roommate suspected in Edmonds killing found hiding in closet

Police had been searching for him for 10 days before locating him at a house in Everett.

Video shows man suspected of attacking a woman in Edmonds

The man allegedly threw her on the ground, then ran away after the she began kicking and screaming.

Navy to put filter in Coupeville’s contaminated water system

Chemicals from firefighting foam was found in the town’s drinking water.

Officials to test sanity of suspect in Everett crime spree

He allegedly tried to rob and clobber a transit worker, then fled and struggled with police.

Katharine Graham, then CEO and chairwoman of the board of The Washington Post Co., looks over a copy of The Daily Herald with Larry Hanson, then The Herald’s publisher, during her visit to Everett on Sept. 20, 1984. The Washington Post Co. owned The Herald from 1978 until 2013. (Herald archives)
Everett’s brush with Katharine Graham, leader of ‘The Post’

Retired Herald publisher Larry Hanson recalls The Washington Post publisher’s visits.

Former Monroe cop loses appeal on sex crimes conviction

Once a highly respected officer, he was found guilty of secretly videotaping his kids’ babysitter.

Families seek to change wrongful death law

A bill would allow or parents or siblings who wish to pursue a suit for an unmarried, childless adult.

Most Read