Lil Bub, a cat whose appearance made her an internet celebrity, has passed away at age 8, owner Mike Bridavsky announced on Sunday, according to CNET.
“I have always been fully transparent about Bub’s health, and it was no secret that she was battling a persistent and aggressive bone infection,” Bridavsky wrote in a farewell post. “Even knowing this, we weren’t expecting her to pass so soon or so abruptly without warning. I truly believe that she willingly made the decision to leave her failing body so that our family would not have to make that difficult decision ourselves.”
Lil Bub was found in a tool shed in rural Indiana in July 2011. The runt of the litter, Bub was born with numerous genetic anomalies, such as dwarfism, polydactylism (extra toes), osteopetrosis, and jaw and mouth issues.
Once Bridavsky began posting about Lil Bub on Tumblr, her fame skyrocketed. She was featured on calendars, shirts, greeting cards, as a stuffed toy, while appearing on several national television shows, and having her own book and web series.
A portion of the proceeds from every sale through her merchandise site goes to Lil Bub’s Big Fund for the ASPCA, a national fund for special needs pets. Lil Bub has helped raise over $600,000 for animals in need.
“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. “I am forever honored and humbled that you chose me as your caretaker. Please visit all of us in our dreams.”