Sometimes, there’s something or someone that comes along, seemingly broken and imperfect, but with heart—a heart that changes the way the world looks at one’s flaws. Sometimes, it’s a cat. And sometimes, it’s a cat who manages to completely win everyone’s hearts and create a multi-national phenomenon: that’s Lil’ Bub for you.
Born to a feral stray in 2011 in rural Indiana, one could say that she had a rather challenging start in life. But being thrust into the world with nothing but a tool shed to protect her and her siblings from the elements was the least of her problems. She was the tiny, tiny runt of the litter. Her legs were not proportioned to her small body, with her unusually long body and her stunted, little legs. Her lower jaw was significantly shorter than the upper one, causing her tongue to permanently hang out of her mouth.
Seeing her obvious deformities and her need for special care, she was taken in as a rescue in the hopes of giving her a higher chance at survival. She had difficulty feeding from the bottle because of her misshapen mouth, and it soon became apparent that it was going to be quite problematical to find her a forever home.
But find a forever home, she did. She was adopted by Mike Bridavsky, who christened her Lil Bub—because of her adorable little tongue.
The happy ending would have to wait, it seemed. Lil Bub was then diagnosed with a multitude of congenital health conditions and issues that will have to be treated and managed for life. Her face and body will remain small and kitten-like forever. And while the concept sounds adorable, she will also have to deal with her dwarfism, which not only means her legs will remain stubby and disproportioned, it will also cause difficulties in even the simplest and most basic of movements, such as walking.
And it doesn’t stop there. At one year old, Lil Bub was also diagnosed with osteopetrosis, a genetic condition where the bones of the body grows denser and denser over time, and coupled with dwarfism, will render her immobile if left unchecked. This disease is so rare, that Lil Bub is the only cat ever recorded to have had this illness—that made coming up with a treatment plan quite difficult.
But Lil Bub wasn’t going to let any inborn issue prevent her from waddling around with her twenty-two (yes, twenty-two!) toes and claws and living her life to the fullest. Her healthy appetite more than made up for her permanent lack of teeth, and her exceptionally pleasant demeanor made her the perfect patient, taking on her pulsed electromagnetic field therapy like a pro. Dubbed as a space traveler by her human, now fondly called “her dude,” she easily rides buses, trains, planes, and even Mike’s shoulders—the perfect travel companion for any occasion.
From Bridavsky’s personal Tumblr posts, she was shot to fame when her heartwarming story of rescue and survival, unique appearance, and adorably charming personality flooded the online community and social media world. Now Lil Bub’s website, facebook page, instagram, and other sites have garnered millions of followers from all over the globe—so much so that she had successfully launched a merchandise store, released an album, published books and printed products, produced a whole multitude of videos, and earned countless fans who crowned studios, malls, schools—whichever venue she’s scheduled to make an appearance. Not bad at all for someone born in a tool shed and diagnosed with a disease that would cut her life short!