The celebrity pet world has lost one of its most altruistic superstars.
Lil Bub the cat died on Sunday at the age of 8, according to a post, written by her owner Mike Bridavsky, on her Instagram.
“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,” reads the heartbreaking announcement.
“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,” the post continues, with Bridavsky adding “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.”
Lil Bub was rescued by Bridavsky in 2011 after she was found in an Indiana tool shed with the rest of her siblings and feral mother. The runt of her litter, it was clear that Bub would need a little extra help through life. As her website describes, Bub had a “multitude of genetic anomalies.” She was a perma-kitten, which she meant she stayed kitten sized her entire life, and she had an “extreme case of dwarfism,” which meant her limbs were disproportionately small relative to the rest of her body, so she had some trouble moving around. Additionally, Bub’s lower jaw was shorter than her upper jaw, and she never grew a full set teeth. These factor caused her tongue to hang out of her mouth, but did not inhibit her appetite.
None of these “happy accidents,” as Bridavsky calls them on Bub’s website, limited Bub’s popularity. The special needs cat accumulated over 2.3 million Instagram followers and close to 3 million Facebook subscribers in her 8 years.
In the post announcing Lil Bub’s death, her owner writes “I have always been fully transparent about BUB’s health,” which has included sharing information about Bub’s long-time struggle with osteopetrosis and her trouble with a recent bone infection.
“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,” reads the post, which also includes the first and last photo Bridavsky took with his famous feline.
Lil Bub’s owner goes on to highlight the tiny cat’s big accomplishments in the animal rescue world.
“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.”
While Lil Bub is gone, Bridavsky knows her legacy of kindness will continue on.
“I know that her sprit, magic, and overwhelming energy are still with us, reminding us every day to be better,” Bridavksy closes the post. “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.”