Lil Bub, the famous cat with dwarfism, has died. Here's how the cat went viral and took over the internet.
Mark Von Holden/AP Images for Discovery Communications
- Lil Bub, the internet-famous cat with dwarfism, died unexpectedly in her sleep this weekend after struggling with a "persistent and aggressive bone infection."
- The 8-year-old cat rose to fame in 2011 after her owner, Mike Bridavsky, posted photos online showing Lil Bub's tiny size, lack of teeth, and tongue consistently hanging out of her mouth.
- Take a look at some of the best photos and highlights from Lil Bub's short life as a pet influencer and internet sensation.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
The internet-famous cat Lil Bub, known for her toothless appearance and tongue permanently hanging out of the mouth, died unexpectedly over the weekend.Lil Bub was a genetic anomaly: She stopped growing at around four pounds, had no teeth, and her tongue hung out of her mouth. Despite being the runt of her litter, she became a celebrity after her owner posted photos of her online in 2011. She starred in ads and movies, and accrued millions of followers across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.Advertisement
Lil Bub's owner, Mike Bridavsky, announced the passing of Lil Bub in a newsletter emailed to fans.
"We weren't expecting her to pass so soon or so abruptly without warning," Bridavsky wrote. "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."Here's all you need to know about Lil Bub, the cat who died this weekend at the age of 8:
Lil Bub was discovered in the summer of 2011 in a backyard shed in rural Indiana, alongside the other kittens in her litter. However, Lil Bub was the runt of the litter, weighed only six ounces, and had to be bottle fed.
The owner of the Indiana home happened to be a friend of Mike Bridavsky, a recording artist whose studio was on the verge of bankruptcy. Bridavsky, who already had four cats, drove out to see the cat immediately.Advertisement
"She looked very weird, like a little alien," Bridavsky, now 39, said of his first time seeing Lil Bub. Her name is inspired by a term of endearment Bridavsky once used with a friend, and it's what he called the cat immediately upon picking her up for the first time.
Lil Bub's appearance is due to myriad health issues and birth defects, including feline dwarfism and osteoporosis. The result: her legs are disproportionately stubby and cause mobility problems; her lower jaw is underdeveloped and she has no teeth, causing her tongue to stick out at all times; she has an extra claw on each foot; and she makes weird, yet amusing, noises in place of meows. She's also a "permakitten," meaning she stayed her four-pound size throughout her life.Advertisement
Bridavsky started a Tumblr blog devoted to Lil Bub in November 2011, and the pictures drew attention quickly online. A few months later, Lil Bub made it to the front of Reddit and her popularity began to skyrocket, earning her an invite to appear on "Good Morning America."
After going viral in 2012, Lil Bub's career took off. She starred in a documentary called "Lil BUB & Friendz" that premiered at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival, released a book, and launched a line of merchandise featuring her face.Advertisement
Lil Bub has more than 3 million fans on Facebook, and 2.4 million Instagram followers. An event with Lil Bub in 2016 reportedly cost fans $100 each for a meet-and-greet and signed photo of the cat.
The amount of money Lil Bub has earned has not been disclosed, but it's enough that Bridavsky was able to quit his full-time job years ago. Lil Bub has reportedly earned $30,000 a year in YouTube royalties, and donated more than $200,000 to animal charities through her ASPCA-linked fund.Advertisement
Over the years, Brivadsky and Lil Bub formed a close bond — he has Lil Bub tattooed twice on his body. "Her Zen aura permeates through the photos, and people just can't get enough of Bub. I can't either," Bridavsky said in a 2013 interview. "She's just there to make everyone happy, regardless of who you are."
But in a newsletter to Lil Bub's fans this weekend, Brivadsky announced that the cat had died "unexpectedly" after "battling a persistent and aggressive bone infection." She was 8 years old.Advertisement
"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," Brivadsky said. "I know that her spirit, magic, and overwhelming energy are still with us, reminding us every day to be better."
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