65ºF

Social Media Cat Star Lil Bub Dies at Age 8

Lil Bub, the tiny, special needs cat that became a gigantic social media celebrity has died from "a persistent and aggressive bone infection," her owner announced Monday.

She was 8.

“On the morning of Sunday, December 1st 2019, we lost the purest, kindest and most magical living force on our planet," posted Mike Bridavsky on the feline's social media account. "BUB was cheerful and full of love laying in our bed with us Saturday night, but unexpectedly passed away peacefully in her sleep."

View this post on Instagram

This is my first photo with BUB next our last photo together. On the morning of Sunday, December 1st 2019 we lost the purest, kindest and most magical living force on our planet. BUB was cheerful and full of love laying in our bed with us Saturday night, but unexpectedly passed away peacefully in her sleep.. I have always been fully transparent about BUB's health, and it was no secret that she was battling a persistent and aggressive bone infection. Even knowing this, we weren't expecting her to pass so soon or so abruptly without warning. I truly believe that she willingly made the decision to leave her failing body so that our family would not have to make that difficult decision ourselves. 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. She taught me everything that I know about unconditional love, she brought my wife Stacy and I together, she's the reason we have our beautiful children Rosco and Lula, and she has been a constant source of warmth and love in our lives for the past 8 years. To say that our family is devastated would be an understatement. But most importantly, BUB has made a huge difference in the world of animal welfare, and in the lives of millions of people worldwide. She has literally saved thousands of lives (both pets and humans), she started the first national fund for special needs pets, she was the subject of groundbreaking genetic and biological research, she's helped raise over $700,000 for animals in need, and has spread a message of determination, positivity, and perseverance to people all over the world. And even though my heart is absolutely crushed by her graceful departure from planet Earth, I know that her sprit, magic, and overwhelming energy are still with us, reminding us every day to be better. 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 o

A post shared by Lil BUB (@iamlilbub) on

Lil Bub was famous for her diminutive physique, the result of an extreme strain of feline dwarfism that relegated her to the size of a kitten for her entire life. She was the runt of a litter born to a feral cat and had an extremely hard time being adopted because of her many abnormalities. 

Her tongue forever hung from her mouth because she had no teeth and a tiny lower jaw. 

Mike Bridavsky, who calls himself Lil Bub's "dude," rescued her in 2011 after she and her siblings were found in an Indiana tool shed. Bridavsky started social media accounts in her name and she became a cat celebrity. A documentary about her titled "Lil Bub & Friendz" won the 2013 Tribeca Online Festival Best Feature film and her sweet, squished face peers out from coffee mugs and tote bags, the proceeds from which her dude donates to animal rescue groups.

Her Facebook page alone has more than three million likes. Her Instagram account had 2.3 million followers. 

Lil Bub also developed a bone disorder, osteopetrosis, in 2012. That and her already short legs made moving difficult, but she was "a terrific waddler," her owner said. 

She and Bridavsky did "meet and greets" at animal shelters in her hometown of Bloomington and traveled the country, donating a percentage of their merchandise sales. The cat was also an author, with an assist from Bridavsky, that produced "Lil Bub's Lil Book: The Extraordinary Lofe of the Most Amazing Cat on the Planet."

She even met another famous feline, "Grumpy Cat," at CatCon, the Internet Cat Video Festival.

View this post on Instagram

This is my first photo with BUB next our last photo together. On the morning of Sunday, December 1st 2019 we lost the purest, kindest and most magical living force on our planet. BUB was cheerful and full of love laying in our bed with us Saturday night, but unexpectedly passed away peacefully in her sleep.. I have always been fully transparent about BUB's health, and it was no secret that she was battling a persistent and aggressive bone infection. Even knowing this, we weren't expecting her to pass so soon or so abruptly without warning. I truly believe that she willingly made the decision to leave her failing body so that our family would not have to make that difficult decision ourselves. 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. She taught me everything that I know about unconditional love, she brought my wife Stacy and I together, she's the reason we have our beautiful children Rosco and Lula, and she has been a constant source of warmth and love in our lives for the past 8 years. To say that our family is devastated would be an understatement. But most importantly, BUB has made a huge difference in the world of animal welfare, and in the lives of millions of people worldwide. She has literally saved thousands of lives (both pets and humans), she started the first national fund for special needs pets, she was the subject of groundbreaking genetic and biological research, she's helped raise over $700,000 for animals in need, and has spread a message of determination, positivity, and perseverance to people all over the world. And even though my heart is absolutely crushed by her graceful departure from planet Earth, I know that her sprit, magic, and overwhelming energy are still with us, reminding us every day to be better. 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 o

A post shared by Lil BUB (@iamlilbub) on

A group of scientists also launched a campaign to study Lil Bub's genome sequence in an effort to learn more about her disabilities. 

According to her owner, she helped raise more than $700,000 for special needs animals.

"I know that her spirit, magic, and overwhelming energy are still with us, reminding us every day to be better," Bridavsky wrote in his post announcing her death. "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."

RELATED STORIES

Choupette, Karl Lagerfeld's Social Media-Famous Cat, Mourns His Loss

Famous Fat Shelter Cat Gets New Home With Woman Just as 'Extra' as He is

Celebrity Chef Cat Cora's Glamorous Mugshot