Lil Bub, Pioneer in Internet-Famous Cats, Dies at 8

Lil Bub, the perma-kitten whose droopy tongue and eyes that could vacuum in your soul made her one of the internet’s most beloved feline celebrities, has died, her owner said on Monday. She was 8.

Her unexpected death on Sunday, resulting from a bone infection, led a vast collection of fans to mourn her as if she were their own, having spent years awwing at her face. With millions of followers on social media, and a mini-empire of commercial appearances elsewhere, Lil Bub was, to many, as familiar as the kitten next door.

“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,” her owner, Mike Bridavsky, said on Instagram.

Cats have long been central to the lore of the internet, but Lil Bub, whose image first appeared on Reddit in 2011, was among the first felines to stand out from the crowd and become a star. Another pioneer of the category, Grumpy Cat, died in May after complications from a urinary tract infection.

When she was 1 year old, she received a diagnosis of osteopetrosis, a rare bone condition that made her almost completely immobile. But her internet fame allowed her owners to discover new treatments, and in her final years she was able to run and jump onto the couch.

Her death, in her sleep, came “abruptly without warning,” Mr. Bridavsky wrote on Instagram. She spent her last night “cheerful and full of love laying in our bed with us.”

“Please visit all of us in our dreams,” he said.

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