Lil BUB, the internet famous cat with her adorable sticking out tongue that stole the hearts of millions, has died. She died this Sunday, peacefully in her sleep, at the age of 8.
The sad news was announced on Bub’s Instagram page to her 2.3 million devoted followers by her owner (also known as Lil Bub’s “dude”), Mike Bridavsky, along with the first and last ever images he took with her.
“Dearest BUB, 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” he posted as part of his heartfelt tribute.
Lil Bub was born in June 2011 and was adopted by Mike in November of that year. She was not only the runt of a feral litter but was also born with a range of genetic anomalies. These included being a perma kitten which means she stayed kitten sized and had kitten like features for her whole life, having an extra toe on each paw, and having a rare bone condition called Osteopetrosis. She also had a severe case of feline dwarfism, meaning her limbs were small compared to the rest of her body and her lower jaw was significantly shorter than her upper jaw, resulting in her teeth not growing in and causing her trademark tongue to always hang out.
As one of the original “internet cats”, Bub rose to fame in 2012 when a picture that Mike had posted to her Tumblr page appeared on the front page of Reddit. The little cat instantly became an internet sensation. Since then, Lil Bub has amassed millions of followers across her social media platforms, appeared on many TV shows including The View, “written” books, had a documentary made about her, and was even a Modern Cat cover model in 2014!
She was a philanthro-cat, raising thousands of dollars over her life time for animals in need. She donated to animal rescues such as Best Friends Animal Society and the ASPCA and helped other animals with special needs like her.
She also greatly helped her fans. At the beginning, Mike felt her sudden fame was overwhelming and considered removing her from the spotlight but the heartfelt messages he received from her fans, telling him how Bub had helped them through hard times, made him reconsider. “Her whole thing is about being positive and proving that being different is good – this came from her” he told Modern Cat, adding that he is just the “facilitator” of spreading her positive vibes to the world.
Since the sad news was announced, fans and friends have flooded social media with condolences and to share memories. It is clear the impact she had on her fans and that she will be greatly missed but thanks to the internet, her legacy will live on so that she can continue spread joy and positivity.