Bloomington cat Lil Bub becomes internet sensation
By Nona Tepper
Owner Mike Bridavsky adopted her a year ago. He thought she was cute, so he uploaded her picture to Tumblr.
Now, with 20,000 Facebook fans, a line of T-shirts and plans for a TV appearance, Bridavsky said he’s still amazed by the fan mail he receives.
“One of the first ones I got was, ‘If it weren’t for seeing Bub everyday I couldn’t get through grad school,’” he said.
If you’ve forgotten to pay your Internet bill or have been living under a rock, Lil Bub is a cat. But not just any cat. Lil Bub has dwarfism.
She has extra toes and, as a result, 22 claws. She was born without teeth, so her tongue usually hangs out. Her eyes bulge.
Buzzfeed describes her as “nature’s happy accident who is about to win your heart” in the June article Bridavsky said really won her the media attention.
“It goes both ways,” he said. “Some people think now that she’s famous and there’s all these pictures and that it’s terrible, it’s a freak show. She’s just a cat. The only offensive thing about it is that you’re calling it a freak show.”
Behind the stardom, Lil Bub is just like any other cat. At least, that’s what Bridavsky said. She’s just a little different.
“It’s hard to explain,” Bridavsky said. “She’s very bright, she knows her name, she asks for stuff, but she’s just different. She doesn’t really act like a normal cat.”
Weighing in at just 4.5 pounds, Lil Bub has her limits.
Most cats can land gracefully on all four paws when they fall off the bed. Lil Bub plops.
When she walks, she stumbles. Bridavsky describes her style as “waddling.” He usually carries her from room to room.
“Who knows what else is different in her?” he said.
She is a deformed cat.
But this distinction might contribute to her appeal.
“It’s just about looking different,” he said. “Different doesn’t have to be ugly or weird and, in some cases, can be way more interesting and adorable than everyone looking the same. It’s about not judging people on their appearances.”
Lil Bub’s size certainly sends a message — the public response alone qualifies it.
Bridavsky said it also defines it. He’s not sure if she’s changing the world, but she is making a difference.
“I’m not actively ever going to seek out making her more famous or anything,” he said. “But I do think she has a good message, and it’s really nice to see the positive response.”
The public alone will determine Lil Bub’s public prevalence.
Bridavsky’s just the owner. Lil Bub’s just a cat.
While urban legends say most cats have nine lives, Lil Bub might only live to the age of 3.
She’s about 1 year old, but she might later experience medical complications
related to dwarfism.
Bridavsky said saying goodbye might be the hardest part.
“It’s just different. It’s Bub,” Bridavsky said. “You have to be around her every day for a few years to really get her personality. She’s just a different cat.”