Alas, Lil Bub. We hardly knew ye — except through your many adorable videos.
The house cat with a comically-protruding tongue and legions of internet followers has died, according to her owner.
The cat, affectionately known online as Lil Bub, passed away Dec. 1, according to a social media post by owner Mike Bridavsky.
“We lost the purest, kindest and most magical living force on our planet,” Bridavsky wrote on Instagram.
He explained that the cat had been struggling with a “persistent and aggressive bone infection,” and that it was no secret to her followers.
“Even knowing this, we weren’t expecting her to pass so soon or so abruptly without warning,” he wrote.
Lil Bub’s peculiar appearance made her an internet sensation. She was a runt with huge green eyes, a nearly kitten-sized body and extra toes on her front paws. She also had no teeth and an oddly-shaped jaw that caused her tongue to hang out at all times.
“Lil Bub is a one-of-a-kind space cat,” her bio on Twitter reads. “Since landing on Earth, she’s raised over $500,000 for homeless pets, and changed thousands of lives for the better.”
Lil Bub was born in 2011 and Bridavsky adopted her into his Indiana home a short time later. By 2013, he was sharing photos of her on the internet and using her as the centrepiece for a web series called Lil Bub’s Big Show, in which she meowed through video-edited “interviews” with celebrities.
The dopey-looking cat racked up millions of views of YouTube, 2.3 million followers on Instagram and an additional 827,000 fans on Twitter before her death.
She also became a hit in the celebrity cat world, appearing several times alongside the sour-faced Grumpy Cat, among others.
Grumpy Cat died last May.
Scientists were fascinated by Lil Bub’s peculiar tongue, to the point where they actually ran a genome sequencing test on her to find the cause. They already knew about her bone disease and her extra toes — a mutation known as polydactyly. They also found that the cat’s bone condition was likely responsible for some of its facial deformities.
On Sunday, Bridvansky wrote a lengthy blog post describing the profound impact that Lil Bub had on his life.
“To say that our family is devastated would be an understatement,” he wrote.
He also credited the cat with saving “thousands of lives” by helping to raise money for special-needs pets and biological research.
“I know that her spirit, magic and overwhelming energy are still with us, reminding us every day to be better,” he wrote.
The cat’s passing triggered a wave of sympathy and sadness online.
“Ohhhh, this breaks my heart,” wrote user @PuddinCusp on Twitter. “She was loved by so many, but none more than you, Mike. Thank you for sharing her with the world. May this beautiful girl rest in piece.”
“Trying not to cry in an Uber on the way to work,” wrote @serebiisama. “Lil Bub has touched the lives and hearts of many humans and animals alike. Thanks for everything, Lil Bub.”
One user wrote that Lil Bub “reminded us all that we’re a bunch of beautiful freaks and how special it is to be a beautiful freak.”