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."
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.
il 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.
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."