Internet star Lil BUB appears at Museum of the Moving Image fund-raiser Saturday

By Bill Parry

Internet sensation Lil BUB, the tiny celebrity cat with huge eyes and a dangling tongue, will appear at a special benefit for special needs pets at the Museum of the Moving Image Saturday. MoMI will present “The Story of Lil BUB” featuring the feline and her owner, Mike Bridavsky, in the Sumner M. Redstone Theater beginning at 1 p.m.

“It will be her first trip to Queens and likely her last visit to New York City,” Bridavsky said. “Lil BUB loves to travel and see her fans, but my wife and I are expecting our first child so we’ll need to cutback on the travels.”

Lil BUB was discovered by a friend’s mother in a tool shed in rural Indiana. She was born with a multitude of genetic anomalies that give her a unique appearance.

“She’s one of a kind on so many levels, one in a billion because of her genetic makeup,” Bridavsky said. “I used to create blogs for friends, so I did one for her and I didn’t take it very seriously. She began having hundreds of fans beginning in 2012 and when one of her photos went viral, the whole thing exploded. I never sought to make her a star. It just kind of happened.”

Lil BUB became a social media superstar with 65,000 Twitter followers with 2.5 million likes on her Facebook page. Bridavsky knew that her popularity around the globe could help her make a difference in people’s lives.

“I knew Lil BUB could use her fame for the greater good not just for people, but for pets,” Bridavsky said. “Through the BUB Store on her website we’ve raised more than $300,000 through the sales of T-shirts and calendars for animals in need. The main goal is to raise awareness about proper animal care, the importance of adopting, volunteering at shelters and the importance of spaying and neutering.”

Tickets for the MoMI fund-raiser cost $25. In addition a limited number of $100 tickets were available which included access to “The Story of Lil BUB” as well as a meet-and-greet at 4 p.m. with all proceeds going to an ASPCA national fund, which provides grants to animal welfare organizations to help homeless pets with special needs.

The events are part of MoMI’s current exhibit, “How Cats Took Over the Internet,” which presents the history of cats online, examining phenomena like Caturday, lolcats, cat videos, celebrity cats, and more to unearth why images and videos of the feline kind have transfixed a generation of web users.

Visitors will also have the opportunity to go home with a cat of their own. An ASPCA Mobile Adoption Event will take place at the museum’s entrance.

The Museum of the Moving Image is located at 36-01 35th Ave. in Astoria. More information and tickets are available online at movingimage.us.

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparry@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4538.