"Political Animals" indeed: Cat elected mayor in rural Alaska

As the new USA Network miniseries Political Animals is reminding us, politics can get rather catty. Clearly based on a highly fictionalized version of Hillary Clinton’s life, the drama is full of snappy lines, strong women and, of course, Sigourney Weaver as Hillary stand-in Elaine Barrish. The claws come when she spars with Susan Berg, a reporter determined to climb back into the spotlight while fighting the snark-laden world of Washington politics. We always enjoy seeing a good cat fight in the political arena, but let’s not forget the real cats in politics.

Fifteen years ago, voters in the tiny town of Talkeetna, Alaska, didn’t like any of their options on the ballot. We can sympathize! A few funny individuals suggested a write-in campaign, and when all was said and done, Stubbs the cat had been elected mayor. And he didn’t even have a PAC to back him. He’s held the seat ever since and allegedly has no interest in pursuing the governorship, which is probably a good thing, since the lower 48 are definitely not ready to handle a cat as a Vice-Presidential candidate.

With 900 residents, Talkeetna isn’t exactly a hotbed of political action, so Mayor Stubbs has primarily ceremonial duties. He evidently enjoys an evening refresher of water from his personal wineglass with a sprig of catnip, and spends a great deal of time napping, for which he can hardly be blamed; after all, it’s practically a moral obligation for cats to spend at least eight hours a day snoozing, whether they’re elected officials or not.

For residents, electing Stubbs has proved an unexpected boon to the local economy. Not, I’m sorry to say, because Stubbs has enacted sweeping economic reforms. Instead, tourists are so bemused by the idea of a cat as mayor that they’re going out of their way to friend him on Facebook and visit him in person, which brings in lots more traffic for the town. The feline celeb is still going strong and he’s evidently a favorite with the local population.

Lest you think Stubbs is the sole cat in the corridors of power, meet Tabby, a favorite of Abraham Lincoln, who allegedly loved cats so much that he’d pet them for an hour at one sitting! (Winston Churchill was also fond of cats, incidentally.) Morris the Cat, meanwhile, ran an electoral campaign before Stubbs was even born, and Tama the cat is an internationally famous stationmaster from Japan. Closer to home, Fred the cat went undercover to bust a fake vet, proving that cats can be crimefighters too.

What will our feline overlords do next?

Photo credits: Shawn Wilson for KTUU.