Rescued Cat Made History When She Was Elected Mayor. Can She Do It Again?

Sweet Tart, a Norwegian Forest Cat from Michigan, isn’t your average feline. This rescued cat is the mayor of Omena, a Michigan town with a history of electing animals into office.

But Sweet Tart — who beat dogs, cats, a chicken, a peacock, and a goat to become Omena’s first feline mayor in 2018 — didn’t always seem destined for greatness.

Omena’s first cat mayor, Sweet Tart, hopes voters will elect her to a second term. Photo: Kanda McKee

Long before she became mayor, Sweet Tart was just a tiny kitten found on a local trail. “She weighed a little over a pound and was a spitfire,” Sweet Tart’s owner, Kanda McKee, told the Leelanau Ticker.

The rescued cat remained a trailblazer throughout her first 3-year term. Sweet Tart became the first cat invited to the Northport Dog Parade, got a shout-out from Anderson Cooper, appeared in a cat calendar, and even led a parade through Omena on National Dog Day, demonstrating her truly bipartisan spirit. Sweet Tart even wore a face mask to help model Covid-19 safety.

Photo: Kanda McKee

Now Sweet Tart is up for re-election, according to the Omena Historical Society, which hosts this tongue-in-cheek mayoral race/fundraiser every three years.

“Sweet Tart plans to put up a tough fight as she CLAWS her way back!” the Omena Historical Society announced in a statement. But although the cat faithfully attended OHS meetings during her time in office (and even endorsed the annual meeting agenda with a stamp of her paw print), Sweet Tart’s reelection isn’t assured. That’s because the cat’s owner, Kanda, is recovering from knee surgery, limiting Sweet Tart’s options for campaigning.

Photo: Kanda McKee

But Sweet Tart still has a good shot at a second term, according to local polls, where voting is underway.

“She makes a “purrfect” candidate because she has the experience,” Kanda McKee explained to The Animal Rescue Site in an email. “She has been on the OHS Village Council and served as Vice Mayor before becoming Mayor in 2018. She is internationally known through her election coverage in England, China, Germany, Hungary to name a few. She has received cards and letters from fans. Her picture was published June 6 on the 2021 365-a-day Cat Calendar.”

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Photo: Kanda McKee

Regardless, Sweet Tart is running against a diverse field of feathered/four-legged candidates, including a goat, a chicken, and at least a dozen dogs. Whoever gets the most votes before virtual booths close on July 22, 2021, at 5 pm, will become Omena’s next mayor.

As in past years, voters are encouraged to “vote early and often” because this adorable contest is also a fundraiser for the Omena Historical Society. Plus, ballots are only $1 (with a $5 minimum). May the best animal win!

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