Stubbs, the honorary feline mayor of an Alaska town, has recovered enough from severe injuries sustained in a dog mauling to be released from the animal hospital.
The 16-year-old cat's owner, Lauri Stec, drove to Wasilla to bring Stubbs home to Talkeetna on Monday. She said he's doing OK, but is still in a lot of pain and on a pain patch.
Stubbs lives at Nagley's General Store, and Stec is the manager there. She said for at least a few days, Stubbs will be cared for at a house connected to the back of the store and away from the hubbub. He'll have to be quiet for a couple months.
But Stubbs is a social creature and getting on in years. Stec doesn't want him to get depressed, so she plans to move him back to the store in a few days. She'll keep him in his regular sleeping spot on top of a freezer that holds his bed: a mushing sled piled with furs of fox, caribou, beaver and lynx.
"He'll be with his pals," Stec said of the furs.
Stubbs had been under veterinary care after being mauled by a loose dog in Talkeetna, 115 miles north of Anchorage. The Aug. 31 attack left Stubbs with a punctured lung, a fractured sternum, bruised hips and a deep gash on his side. Stec said she knows the dog that was involved and has reported the attack with borough animal control officials.
The quirky community of 900 elected the orangey-beige cat in a write-in campaign 15 years ago. There is no human mayor in the town, where Stubbs holds court at the store, greeting customers. He's also a known presence at the next-door pub, where he enjoys drinking water-catnip concoctions from a wine glass.
Stubbs was already popular but gained even more fans when news spread about the attack. People from all over the world have posted get-well messages on his Facebook page, which had almost 22,000 "likes" as of Monday afternoon.
At Nagley's General Store, two walls were covered with get well cards and letters from all over, and visitors have been asking nonstop about Stubbs, Cortez said. So his improving condition is good news.
"Everybody's happy," store clerk Marco Cortez said.
Donations also are coming in from all over for Stubbs' recovery. Some of it will be given to an animal shelter in the region.
The attack on Stubbs was not the first strike on his nine lives. In the past, he has been shot by a BB gun, and still has a BB lodged inside. He's fallen onto a cold fryer vat and once rode on a garbage truck before jumping off.