Morris, the cat who is running for mayor of Xalapa, Mexico, is really starting to shake things up in Mexican politics.
Inspired by the headline-grabbing cat, several other animals around the country are now following in his pawprints, with mayoral campaigns of their own in other Mexican towns.
Search around Facebook and you will find a hen running for mayor of Tepic; a St. Bernard who wants to tackle corruption in Oaxaca City; and a donkey who is trying to bray his way into Ciudad Juarez's mayoral palace with the slogan "It's better to have an ass for mayor, than a mayor who's an ass."
The pets were elevated to candidacy, of course, by the humans who run their Facebook pages and create dozens of catchy campaign catchphrases. But these gimmicks aren't all just fun and games.
Campaigners for these animal candidates say they are frustrated with corrupt politicians who have failed to make a difference in their towns. They also say that voters who do not identify with any of Mexico's human candidates can send a signal to the nation's ruling class by voting for an animal instead.
Here are some of Mexico's most formidable animal candidates and their sometimes less-than-cuddly slogans. For a bonus, click through to the end to see the only cat who has ever won a political contest. (As far as we know.)
|Maya the Cat|
Maya is running for mayor of Puebla. Inspired by Morris, she launched her campaign June 5. In keeping with the animal theme, her slogan, "No rats, or dinosaurs," blasts corrupt politicians ("rats") and officers of Mexico's longtime dominant party, the PRI ("dinosaurs").
|Tina the Hen|
Tina promises to end hunger in her hometown of Tepic by giving "free powdered eggs to the poor." Her campaign slogan is "Vote for Tina, the hen, she has the [eggs] that others are missing." It's a double entendre; the Spanish term for eggs (huevos) is a euphemism for "balls."
|Chon the Donkey|
Chon, of Ciudad Juarez, has been promoting his candidacy for mayor since May, but last week's viral news about Morris the Cat really kick-started Chon's campaign. With 2,400 followers on Facebook, Chon is one of the most popular animal candidates. One of his slogans: "We are not the same [as politicians], we brey to a different tune."
|Titan the Dog|
Titan, a St. Bernard, launched his campaign for mayor of Oaxaca on Monday. His slogan: "The only one who admits that he's in this for the bone," which in Mexico commonly refers to a prize or political spoils.
|Benito the Cat|
Benito is running for mayor of Minatitlan, population 150,000. "Like my friend Morris, I'm a cat, and I don't do much," he says, in one of his Facebook memes. "But the mayors we've had, who have had greater chances, have not done anything, either."
|Muffin the Cat|
Muffin is running for mayor of Orizaba, a town in the state of Veracruz. His campaign poster says, "I won't do anything either [like the rest of politicians], but it only costs 1,000 pesos a month [$80] to cover my expenses." Muffin says he belongs to Morris' "political party."
|Stubbs the Cat|
Well, it's not Mexico, but it's North America, at least: Stubbs has served as the mayor of Talkeetna, Alaska, for the past 15 years. This makes him the unofficial granddaddy of all animal candidates. Stubbs was elected by the town of 900 people when he was just a kitten. Legend has it that residents were not satisfied with any of the bipedal candidates for mayor and wrote his name in on the ballot as a joke. While that may not be entirely accurate, it's clear that since his first election, town residents have enjoyed Stubbs' laissez-faire politics.