Caturday felid trifecta: Snow leopard cubs in Toronto; cat mayor of Alaskan town dies; cat gently pets tiny frog

Today’s trifecta includes a nice video of a rare snow leopard (Panthera uncia) with her two adorable cubs in the Toronto zoo. Sadly, there were originally three cubs but one died of pneumonia. Listen to their little squeaks! And look at mom’s tail!

They’re now three months old, and, fingers crossed, will grow up to be among the world’s most beautiful wild cats. It’s a great pity that these animals are confined in zoos. One could say that studying them there will help conserve them in the wild, but I don’t find that argument convincing, nor do I think that people seeing the cat will be moved to engage in conservation efforts.

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Several readers sent me notices of the death of Stubbs, the mayor of the tiny town of Talkeetna, Alaska (population 900). Stubbs was a cat, and, according to the CBC, was elected the real mayor in a town vote in 1998 (there’s no human mayor).  As the CBC reported on July 25:

The animal’s owners announced the cat’s death late Saturday [July 22] in a statement.

“Stubbs lived for 20 years and 3 months,” the family wrote.

“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. 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.”

According to Stubb’s family, Mayor Stubbs, as the cat was most commonly known, went to bed Thursday and died overnight, KTVA-TV reports.

Stubbs lived in the local general store where he became a tourist attraction. He has his own Wikipedia page, which reports another true fact:

Every afternoon, Stubbs went to a nearby restaurant and drank water laden with catnip out of a wineglass or margarita glass.

Here he is having his restorative:


And in his usual position:

Stubbs’s life had its rough spots:

On August 31, 2013, Stubbs was attacked by a dog. He was placed under heavy sedation at a veterinary hospital 70 miles away in Wasilla [JAC: former home of Sarah Palin], having suffered a punctured lung, a fractured sternum, and a deep wound in his side. A crowd-funding page was set up to help pay his medical bills. Stubbs remained in the veterinary hospital for nine days before returning to the upstairs room of the general store; he was subsequently discouraged from roaming. Donations toward his care were received from around the world; the surplus was given to an animal shelter and to the local veterinary clinic.

Other perils Stubbs escaped from included being shot by teenagers with BB guns and falling into a restaurant’s deep fryer (which was switched off and cool at the time). Other exploits included having hitched a ride to the outskirts of Talkeetna on a garbage truck.

I visited Talkeetna in April, 2006 to debate creationist Hugh Ross (the last such debate I’ll do) at the annual meeting of the Alaska Bar Association. Being lawyers, they gave me a generous honorarium, which I vowed to spend traveling a bit around the state. I drove up to Talkeetna, where there’s a decent-sized airport, to catch a bush plane to Mount Denali (former Mt. McKinley). I did know about Stubbs and tried to visit him, but, sadly, the general store was closed. But found a friendly cat at the Talkeetna airport, where I caught a plane that landed on a glacier by Denali. Here’s the cat, whose name I’ve forgotten (ten to one some reader knows it):

Here’s the view of Denali from inside the bush plane (I got to sit next to the pilot):

Our landing spot:

The plane! The plane! (It had to taxi back and forth for half an hour to pack the snow sufficiently to be able to take off again.)

And Denali (left rear) and me (yes, I know this is getting self-aggrandizing, but it was a great adventure, and all on the ABA’s dime):

And here’s Talkeetna’s main street. As you can see, it’s tiny, and serves largely as a jumping-off spot for trips into the bush or mountains:

Although Mayor Stubbs is gone, he had a long life and was well loved. The good news is that the CBC reports that a replacement is being groomed:

Although Stubbs is gone, one of his owners’ kittens might be ready to take up his mayoral mantle.

“Amazingly, Denali has the exact personality as Stubbs,” the family wrote of the kitten. “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.”

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Finally, here’s a kitten gently petting a tiny frog. I wonder if the frog is toxic, as the cat seems to be repulsed at the end after licking its paw. I don’t know where the meows are coming from.

h/t: Michael

10 Comments

  1. Randy schenck
    Posted August 19, 2017 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    And there you were in a Beaver… Should have had the skis on.

    • Posted August 19, 2017 at 10:28 am | Permalink

      The Beaver had the skis on!

      • Randy schenck
        Posted August 19, 2017 at 10:44 am | Permalink

        Oh, okay. I guess the kind that allows the wheels to stay on.

  2. Jeremy Tarone
    Posted August 19, 2017 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    “The good news is that the CBC reports that a replacement is being groomed.”

    I see what you did there.

  3. rickflick
    Posted August 19, 2017 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    Good to see the snow leopard mom taking good care of her cubs. Domestic cats do exactly the same thing. Evolution? Or the personality of a loving god expressing herself for the amusement of YouTube audience? Ha! Gotcha atheists!

  4. Michael Fisher
    Posted August 19, 2017 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    The kitty is named Beaver after the plane. “The Hanger Cat – Since 2006. Beaver can be found catting around TAT, either mousing or lounging in the sun soaking up the rays. Watch out when he is in stalking mode – seriously”

    The most recent pic I can find is Jan. 2015: https://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/talkeetna-air-taxi-talkeetna-2?select=chZhUxCzXnFkrAV05E_rpg

  5. John Conoboy
    Posted August 19, 2017 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    Visited Talkeetna in the early 90s and took a plane tour around Denali, too. We did not land. Talkeetna is a quirky town, but no cat mayor when I was there that I knew of. The plane tour was well worth the cost.

  6. Mark R.
    Posted August 19, 2017 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    When I was a teen, the family and I took a bush plane from Talkeetna to Denali as well. What fun! Though our plane had skis along with tires. It looks like the plane you took just had tires…maybe the skis are buried.

  7. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted August 20, 2017 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    Are the habitat requirements of the Snow Leopard such that a free-living colony could potentially be established on, say, a CA-west coast island? So that “protected breeding” could potentially be used to re-populate the source areas when the Russians and Chinese have stopped the poaching?

  8. Posted September 2, 2017 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

    All us Alaskats are very sad about Mayor Stubbs. But no politics in my future! I am artist!


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