Lil Bub, the dimunitive cat that stole the hearts of more than 2.3 million Instagrammers, has died at age 8.
The feline died peacefully in her sleep Sunday after battling a rare but persistent and aggressive bone infection called osteopetrosis, according to owner Mike Bridavsky.
Bridavsky, who lives in Bloomington, Ind., confirmed the news via her official social media page Sunday with their very first photo together and their last. Followers haven’t stopped flooding the comments with their condolences, support and memories of the beloved cat.
In July of 2011, Bridavsky discovered her as the runt of a healthy feral litter in a tool shed in rural Indiana at only a few weeks old and took her in as a rescue. He started a Tumblr page of Bub, who had feline dwarfism and an extra toe on each paw, in addition to her trademark perma-tongue.
From there, Bub became one of the most famous cats on the planet, becoming a published author, a talk show host and the star of an award-winning documentary, as well as promoting several products. Bub was also the spokescat for Lil Bub’s Big Fund for the ASPCA, the first national fund for special needs pets, and has helped raise more than $700,000 for animals with special needs.
And don’t forget the merchandising, because Lil Bub had plenty of merchandise.
It hasn’t been a great year for Instagram-famous cats: Lil Bub joins her furry meme-sensation friend Tarder Sauce, a.k.a. Grumpy Cat, who died in May.