Lil Bub, a celebrity cat known for her unusual, extremely cute appearance, has passed away at age 8. Her owner, Mike Bridavsky, announced today that Lil Bub died on December 1.
Bridavsky announced Lil Bub’s death on social media, posting the first picture he took with her beside the last picture. In a Mailchimp blog post, he said Lil Bub passed away peacefully in her sleep on Sunday morning. Bridavsky said she had been battling a bone infection, but he did not expect her to pass anytime soon.
Lil Bub gained popularity due to her large eyes and perpetually sticking-out tongue, earning her the nickname “space cat.” Her appearance was caused by several genetic abnormalities: Among her many unique features, Lil Bub was a “perma-kitten,” had extreme dwarfism, had no teeth (hence the tongue), and had one extra toe on all her paws. She was diagnosed with osteopetrosis in 2012, making her the only cat on record to have the rare disease, which causes bones to grow gradually more dense.
Lil Bub’s special cuteness got her more than 3 million likes on Facebook and 2 million followers on Instagram. Bridavsky used that popularity to raise awareness for other special needs pets, starting the Lil Bub’s Big Fund charity with the ASPCA. The charity has raised more than $400,000, and Lil Bub has raised more than $500,000 for homeless pets, according to her official Twitter account.
In addition to all of this fundraising, Lil Bub also has a line of merchandise and several media properties. A Vice Media documentary called Lil Bub and Friendz won the Tribeca Online Festival Best Feature Film in 2013, and the Kickstarter for Lil Bub’s Hello Earth, a retro-style, side-scrolling shooter game, was funded at $148,000. The game was released as a work-in-progress in January 2019 for iOS, Android, Mac, Linux, and PC. According to its Kickstarter page, a “big update” was planned for 2019, but none has been announced as of December. It’s unknown if Lil Bub’s death will affect the game’s progress.
[Image Credit: Lil Bub/Twitter]