We hope you’re voting in this week’s historic U.S. election. During what will undoubtedly be an intense few days of monitoring the news, take some time to distract yourself with a political topic that’s a bit more lighthearted: animals elected to office! That’s right—learn about a real-life cat mayor and dog mayor, presidential cats, and more.
6 animals elected to office (and 2 that ran)
Sometimes the best choice for the local politician is, well, an animal! These six cats and dogs were nominated and sworn into office by humans. Bonus: two cats that “ran,” but alas did not acquire the votes.
Newly elected Sweet Tart
In the unincorporated community of Omena, Michigan (population 267), a calico cat named Sweet Tart was elected mayor in July 2018. Although the cat mayor position is ceremonial only, there’s still reason to be impressed: In Omena’s elections, it costs $1 to vote—and this election raised over $7,000 for the town’s historical society! Also serving on the village council are a puppy named Punkin Anderson Harder, Penny the Chicken, and Harley the Goat. This sounds like our kind of town!
Stubbs the reigning cat mayor
When an orange tabby kitten with a stub tail was found in the Alaskan historic district of Talkeetna, no one could’ve guessed he would serve as mayor for the next 20 years. Stubbs was elected after a write-in campaign by voters who opposed the human candidates. The town’s general store was used as his “mayoral office” during his tenure. He reportedly drew 30-40 tourists each day, and each afternoon went to a nearby restaurant and drank water laden with catnip out of a wineglass or margarita glass. Stubbs passed away in 2017.
Brynneth Pawltro of Rabbish Hash
Rabbit Hash, Kentucky, sounds like a town made for animals elected to office, doesn’t it? In 2015, the pitbull Brynneth Pawltro took residence as the dog mayor for Rabbit Hash. Brynneth beat out a cat, a donkey, and a chicken to reign supreme. Like Omena, it costs $1 to vote in Rabbit Hash, and Brynneth’s election served as a successful fundraiser for Rabbit Hash General Store.
Next in line: Wilbur
Following in Brynneth Pawltro’s, um, pawprints in 2020, 6-month-old French bulldog Wilbur was elected as the newest dog mayor for Rabbit Hash. According to Wilbur’s human, he is handling the stress of the new job pretty well: “He’s done a lot of interviews locally, he’s had a lot of pets, a lot of belly scratches and a lot of ear rubs.”
Duke the faithful dog mayor
In Cormorant, Minnesota, a Great Pyrenees named Duke was elected mayor four, yes, four times. Although he passed away in 2019, Duke served as an important town legacy, helping to raise money and fund projects within the township through his $1-to-vote elections. Apparently, he even ran against his “girlfriend” one year. We’re hoping his win didn’t affect the relationship too negatively.
The Chief Mouser
The “Chief Mouser” is the official resident cat of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom at 10 Downing Street. The title technically represents many cats, spanning from 1515 (when Cardinal Wolsey placed his cat by his side while acting in his judicial capacity as Lord Chancellor) to the current Chief Mouser, Larry.
Tuxedo Stan of Halifax
In 2012, a tuxedo cat called Tuxedo Stan ran for mayor in Halifax, Canada. Although he didn’t win, he reportedly inspired the Halifax City Council to award a large grant to the area to facilitate a low-cost spay and neuter clinic. We’ll take that as a win any day!
Morris of Mexico
Voters in Xalapa, Mexico, were very intrigued by the idea of a cat mayor in 2013. Two students nominated the black and white kitty named Morris as a joke, and the cat amassed more than 150,000 likes on Facebook and 7,500 write-in votes on Election Day. Although Morris didn’t win the role of cat mayor, he did win the hearts of many frustrated citizens.
Of course, we can’t forget that animals also play an important role as the furry family members of more traditional elected personnel. Let’s learn about cats that spent time as residents of none other than the White House.
The famous Abraham Lincoln cats
Tabby and Dixie were the first presidential cats to grace the White House residence. It is said that the 16th president fed his beloved Tabby with a gold fork at White House dinners, and claimed his other cat Dixie was smarter than his whole cabinet. First Lady Mary Todd reportedly said cats were her husband’s only hobby.
Calvin Coolidge’s cats
Another notably cat-friendly president was Calvin Coolidge, who had at least four cats at the White House. On the night that his cat Tiger ran away from home, Coolidge sent his Secret Service agent to WCAP radio to broadcast an appeal for help to listeners. And it worked!
Chelsea Clinton’s tuxedo
The most recent of the presidential cats on our list is none other than Socks, furry companion to President Bill Clinton—or to his daughter Chelsea, to be more precise. Chelsea’s tuxedo cat was an adopted stray kitty. He served as the First Cat of the United States between 1993 and 2001.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this list of animals elected to office. Now, go vote!
Cover photo by Dan Dennis on Unsplash