By Sadef Ali Kully
Hundreds of people lined up last Saturday at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria to meet Internet sensation Lil BUB the cat and hear her story.
The story of Lil BUB started in 2011 when she and her owner, Mike Bridavsky, found each other in Indiana. She was the runt of the litter from a feral cat and Bridavsky, who was down on his luck, was drawn to her almost immediately.
Today, Lil BUB has a large and diverse Internet effect on people from across the world.
The Museum of Moving Image gift shop had posters, books, socks, tote bags and coffee mugs—all with images of Lil BUB. An hour-long YouTube video of the cat lounging on a rug with a roaring fireplace in the background has over 3 million hits alone.
“I realized she had an impact before she became famous. When it started happening, I even started to consider shutting it off,” Bridavsky said. “She had an impact—not on a pop culture level but on a spiritual level.”
Bridavsky realized her purpose was much bigger when he got a message on a blog he had started about Lil BUB. “This one person wrote, ‘I don’t have a question but I am just letting you know that you posting pictures has gotten me through grad school,’” he recalled. “And that is when I realized that I am not the only who is moved by her.”
Lil BUB is not your average feline, according to Bridavsky. She has many abnormalities that require a special diet and treatment to maintain her health.
“She is one in a trillion kind of cat. She has extra toes on all her feet; she had severe dwarfism; she doesn’t have a fully developed jaw, which causes her tongue to stick out; and her teeth were also never developed,” he said.
“She has abnormally large eyes and abnormally green eyes. She is the only cat ever recorded in history to have been born with a rare bone condition called osteopetrosis,” he said.
But all of those physical abnormalities do not account for the one thing Bridavsky loves about her. “She has an abnormal amount of inherent magic,” he said.
He said her fame took off after he created a T-shirt with her image on it and the image became viral.
“I facilitate it in a way that respects and honors her and that’s kinda been my job for the last three years,” he said. “There is something to BUB that comes through her photos—she is not just an Internet cat, not just a celebrity cat, she has a greater purpose.”
Reach Reporter Sadef Ali Kully by e-mail at skull