Cats are all over the internet—you can’t scroll through your social media feed without a friend posting some pet photos.
But sometimes, a cat will break through to become a true internet star with fans around the world. We can grow to love these celebrity kitties almost like our own pets… so it hurts when one of them passes away.
So we’re sad to report that another iconic cat has left us: Lil Bub, the beloved internet star who gained fame for her unique appearance and delighted fans for years, died yesterday, her owner reported. Lil Bub had been fighting a persistent bone infection. She was 8 years old.
“On the morning of Sunday, December 1st 2019 we lost the purest, kindest and most magical living force on our planet,” owner Mike Bridavsky wrote on Lil Bub’s Facebook page.
“BUB was cheerful and full of love laying in our bed with us Saturday night, but unexpectedly passed away peacefully in her sleep.”
Lil Bub was born in July 2011, as the runt of the litter. She had multiple genetic anomolies, including extreme dwarfism, which kept her kitten-sized her entire life and caused disproportional limbs. She is also the only cat to be diagnosed with osteoporosis.
But she also had big bulging green eyes and often stuck out her tongue, giving her a beautiful one-of-a-kind look that no one could resist.
When Bub was 8 weeks old, Mike adopted her when no one else would.
“BUB was having a hard time finding a permanent home,” he told the Conscious Cat. “She was very small, very strange, and even though she was irresistible, I think people were scared of the responsibility, medical bills, and potential heartbreak that seemed inevitable with a special cat like BUB.”
No one could’ve imagined that Lil Bub would become one of the internet’s biggest celebrities. She exploded in popularity after Mike shared photos on Tumblr, which went viral on Reddit.
People couldn’t get enough Lil Bub. She amassed over 3 million followers on Facebook and over 2 million more on Instagram. Fans around the world bought Lil Bub merchandise.
Her popularity went beyond the internet. Lil Bub had her own documentary film, Lil Bub & Friendz, which premiered in 2013 at the Tribeca Film Festival (co-starring with fellow famous cats like Grumpy Cat and Keyboard Cat.)
Bub even hosted her own YouTube talk show, Lil BUB’s Big SHOW, which included a few high-profile guests… including First Lady Michelle Obama.
But Lil Bub also used her viral fame for good, helping out her own kind.
She was an advocate for homeless and special needs pets, and teamed up with ASPCA to create Lil Bub’s BIG Fund, raising money for special needs animals across the country.
That’s quite a life. Sadly, Lil Bub’s medical conditions finally caught up to her.
While Lil Bub’s many fans will be heartbroken by the news, no one will miss her more than her owner.
“It is impossible to put into words the profound effect that BUB has had on my life, on the lives of thousands of homeless pets, and on the lives of those of you that have cared for her as if she were your own family,” Mike wrote.
“I will never forget your generosity, your limitless supply of love, or your uncanny ability to bring so much magic and joy to the world. I am forever honored and humbled that you chose me as your caretaker. Please visit all of us in our dreams often. GOOD JOB BUB.”
Rest in peace, Lil Bub. Thank you for the joy you’ve brought to everyone over the years, and for reminding us to see the beauty in animals who may look a little different.
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