The internet’s flags are at half-mast today, as one of the web’s greatest icons has died: Lil Bub, the cute little cat with that cute cat face, who was best known for… being a cat on the internet. Bub’s owner, Mike Bridavsky, posted the sad news on Bub’s Twitter account, along with a newsletter that breaks character to explain that Bub has “finally gone back to space.” Bridavsky says Bub “passed away peacefully in her sleep” with no warning, but she had been “battling a persistent and aggressive bone infection.” Bub was born with feline dwarfism, a short lower jaw, and no teeth, which is why her tongue always hung out of her mouth, and she was also treated for osteopetrosis (which caused her bones to harden).
Bub became an internet celebrity thanks to social media posts of her photos, and Bridavsky used that internet fame to create a merchandising empire—with a lot of the profits going to help animal rescue groups. He also used Bub’s fame to raise awareness for other animals in need, holding events at animal shelters and appearing in campaigns to promote spaying and neutering pets. Bub also released an album, with 25 percent of the movie going to the ASPCA, and in 2014 she was interviewed by David Yow from The Jesus Lizard at this very website.
In his newsletter, Bridavsky says Bub raised “over $700,000 for animals in need” and helped “spread a message of determination, positivity, and perseverance to people all over the world.”