A U.S. town's honorary mayor, Stubbs the cat, has been badly injured in a vicious dog attack.
The quirky Alaska community of Talkeetna elected the cat in a write-in campaign 15 years ago.
But now Stubbs is sedated and under veterinary care. Saturday's attack left him with a punctured lung, bruised hips, a long deep gash on his side and a fractured sternum.
The town is purported to be the inspiration for the town in the TV series, "Northern Exposure." It's a place dotted with artist shops, where bachelors are auctioned off at a yearly fundraiser and where women compete in a wilderness contest.
Even in such a place, Stubbs is a star.
"We all love him," said Geoff Pfeiffer, a waiter at the West Rib Pub and Cafe. The staff there hopes to refill Stubbs' wine glass with water and a catnip garnish, a feline cocktail for a regular who commands attention every time he comes in.
He's everybody's guy," said Stubbs' owner, Lauri Stec, who manages Nagley's General Store, where the orangey-beige cat lives and mingles with locals and tourists alike. Saturday's attack by the loose dog left Stubbs with a punctured lung, bruised hips, a long deep gash on his side and a sternum fractured to the point it might need to be repaired with a plate.
Stec, who said she knows the dog that was involved, has reported the attack with borough animal control officials.
The next few days will be crucial in Stubbs' recovery, but the cat has begun to sit up and eat. A tube inserted in his lung has been removed. All in all, Stubbs is holding his own, Stec said.
"He's a freaking tough boy," she said.
Stubbs has his own Facebook page, filled with posts this week from well-wishers around the world.
There is also a Twitter account purporting to be from Stubbs, but Stec said she's not involved with that account. Attempts by The Associated Press to reach the account owner weren't immediately successful Thursday.
Donations from well-wishers as far away as Australia have been pouring in for Stubbs' veterinary bills.