Lil BUB, one of most well-known Internet-famous pets of the last decade, died Sunday morning at the age of eight. The cat’s owner Mike Bridavsky reported her death on social media Monday, noting that BUB had been suffering from “a persistent and aggressive bone infection” at the time of her death. A rescue with feline dwarfism and osteopetrosis — among other health issues like a foreshortened jaw — Bridavsky’s photos of Lil BUB went viral on Tumblr in November 2011 before blowing up on Reddit a few months later. Lil Bub & Friendz, a documentary about her little life and that of fellow Internet pet celebs Keyboard Cat and Grumpy Cat, won the Tribeca Online Festival Best Feature award in 2013.
Born and raised in Indiana, Bridavsky and Lil BUB toured the United States throughout her life, doing meet-and-greets, raising money for disabled and rescued pets, as well as partnering with PETA in 2013 for a spay and neuter campaign, for which Lil BUB was the spokescat. In 2014, the pair helped launch the ASPCA’s Lil BUB’s Big FUND, “the first national fund for special needs pets.”
“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,” Bridavsky wrote on Instagram. “I am forever honored and humbled that you chose me as your caretaker. Please visit all of us in our dreams.” In memory of Lil BUB, please enjoy this photo of her meeting Robert DeNiro at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival in New York.