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Top cat: Alaska mourns Stubbs, feline mayor of Talkeetna

A small Alaska town has lost its feline mayor after nearly two decades. Until he died at just over 20 years old, Mayor Stubbs liked to drink a cocktail of water and catnip from a margarita glass.

Stubbs, the honorary feline mayor of the Alaska town of Talkeetna, died in his sleep late last week at the age of 20 years and 3 months, the family with whom he lived announced in a statement released over the weekend.

Talkeetna, a 900-person town about 60 miles (95 kilometers) north of Anchorage and near the Denali National Park, elected the yellow cat as its honorary - and only - mayor in a write-in campaign in 1997.

Alaska is known as a place where nonhuman animals are abused for entertainment and even turn on one another in deadly battles that no one wins. In 2013, Stubbs himself survived an assassination attempt by a dog. Media also erroneously reported his death last year.

"He was a trooper until the very last day of his life - meowing at us throughout the day to pet him or to come sit on the bed with him and let him snuggle and purr for hours in our lap," the Spones family announced in the statement. "Thank you, Stubbs, for coming into our lives for the past 31 months; you are a remarkable cat and we will dearly miss you. We loved the time we were allowed to spend with you."

'Where's the mayor?'

The Spones assumed guardianship of Stubbs when they bought Nagley's General Store and a restaurant in 2015 from his previous family. According to the Spones, more than 75 percent of visitors to their shop wanted to see Stubbs and announced so with such quips and witticisms as "Where's the mayor?" or "I have an appointment with the mayor."

Stubbs grew weary from the attention, however, and as old age set in spent much of the past year at home instead of going to the store, where his visitors passed him from hand to hand to take photos with him, the Spones wrote.

Talkeetna, which has no human municipal administration, has not announced plans to replace the mayor. Perhaps eager to keep up the traffic to their businesses, the Spones have nominated one of their kittens to take the town's reins.

"Amazingly, Denali has the exact personality as Stubbs," the family claimed in the statement. "He loves the attention, he's like a little puppy when he's around people. We couldn't have asked for a better understudy than Denali - he really has followed in Stubbs' pawprints in just about everything."

mkg/jm (Reuters, AP)

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