Schenectady County

Mayoral hopeful has pet issues

Another mayoral election year, another Schenectady cat running for office.

Another mayoral election year, another Schenectady cat running for office.

But this time, the cat isn’t talking about the sorts of issues that are aggravating humans in the city.

Roger is running for office to stop his fellow pets from procreating.

Owner Kathy Fitzmaurice, who runs the Katbird Shop in downtown Schenectady, is holding campaign fundraisers for Roger, with all proceeds going to pay for spaying and neutering at the Animal Protective Foundation.

She’s also printing bumper stickers and signs for Roger to pass on the message all pet owners should spay or neuter their animals, even if they never intend to let the pets go outside alone.

“What if something happens? What if he gets out? What if there’s a flood and your cat is left on his own?” she said.

This is not the first time Fitzmaurice has been involved in a mayoral pet campaign. Her cat Sparky ran for office four years ago, but died of kidney failure before Election Day.

Sparky’s campaign took Fitzmaurice by surprise. A friend jokingly began hanging up “Sparky for mayor” signs and, once the media began calling, Fitzmaurice said she would stand in as Sparky’s translator.

“We had so much fun with Sparky’s campaign,” Fitzmaurice said. “People kept asking me this time, ‘Who are you running?’ ”

She wasn’t going to get roped in to another campaign — but then two stray cats tried to get into her house.

They were flea-ridden and unneutered, and Roger was not pleased to encounter them, she said.

A conversation with shelter workers about the incident led to a discussion about the importance of neutering or spaying pets to reduce the local feral cat population. Suddenly, Roger had a campaign platform.

“Roger is very concerned about the growing number of unwanted dogs and cats. He was very distraught,” Fitzmaurice said, recounting the incident somewhat tongue-in-cheek.

Roger might not know that he’s “concerned.” But he certainly didn’t like having any strange cats muscling their way into his house, Fitzmaurice said.

Roger is neutered, but his first owners left him intact for about a year. Then he was dropped off at the Animal Protective Foundation, where Fitzmaurice adopted him. The shelter neutered him.

Fitzmaurice will hold a fundraiser for Roger — and the shelter — from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 14.

“We’re holding a meet-and-greet,” she said. “The human candidates will even be invited.” It is a coincidence, she said, that one of them — Roger Hull — shares the cat’s moniker.

Roger is the third animal in recent years to run for mayor. In addition to Sparky, a dog named Loffredo ran in 1999. That campaign was intended to protest what owner Rich Moran Jr. said was a lack of political leadership in the city.

Categories: Schenectady County

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