By Yereth Rosen
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) - The honorary feline "mayor" of a small Alaska town is recovering after a vicious assault from a bitter rival - a local dog.
Stubbs, a 16-year-old ginger cat, was mauled by the dog over the Labor Day holiday weekend and has been hospitalized at a veterinary clinic.
Stubbs appears to be bouncing back from his wounds, which included a punctured lung, fractured sternum and deep cuts and bruises, according to Lauri Stec, Stubbs' owner and manager of the local general store, Nagley's. He could be home by Monday.
Stubbs has long been a celebrity in the town of 900, a one-time mining centre that is now best known as the base site for expeditions on nearby Mount McKinley, where he entertains tourists at Nagley's. Years ago he was unofficially dubbed Talkeetna's honorary mayor.
"I can't tell you how many people have been here every single day who want to see him, take pictures of him, pet him," Stec said of the cat known for his habit of drinking catnip-laced water from a wine glass. "He's pretty patient."
These days, Stubbs communicates with out-of-town fans through a Facebook page, where on Friday he posted an upbeat assessment of his medical condition
"I had the tube from my lung taken out today, and have even had a bit of an appetite (though no mouse hunts are in my immediate future)," the Stubbs Mayor Cat posted early Friday.
Technically, there is no mayor or city government in Talkeetna, a two hours' drive north from Anchorage.
The unincorporated community - reputed to be the inspiration for fictional Cicely in the television series "Northern Exposure" - is part of the regional Matanuska-Susitna Borough, and local governing duties fall to the borough mayor, assembly, school board and other borough bodies.
(Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Lisa Shumaker)