Indy loves Lil BUB, local cat-lebrity 

click to enlarge BUB in a chocolate box - KELLY LYNN MITCHELL
  • BUB in a chocolate box
  • Kelly Lynn Mitchell

Man, it's a strange life being a cat-lebrity. People want to take your picture all the time and send you their drawings and paintings of your face. Good Morning America is always calling; other Internet Cats get jealous and start feuds. People even tattoo your face on themselves.

Luckily, Bloomington's Lil BUB seems to be taking it all in stride. This adopted local kitty blew up the Internet in the summer of 2012. She's got a VICE-produced movie on the way, a book, a YouTube channel with over 3.2 million views, 93,000 fans on her Facebook page and more followers professing their love for her tiny, cute lil face than we could reasonably count.

Fittingly, BUB's dude, Mike Bridavsky of Russian Recording, fell in love with BUB through a photo, the same way literally millions of people would do later. Already the owner of four cats, Bridavsky took BUB in and took responsibility for her - admittedly intensive - care. And so began the rise of BUB - from photo blog to YouTube channel to Internet Cat Video Film Festival (yes, that exists) hit.

Thank god she's using her powers for good. 2012 was good for BUB, and a good year for BUB is a good year for adoptable animals everywhere. Bridavsky quickly realized he could harness the power of cute to educate, and thus BUB has become a strong advocate for adoption, spay-neuter programs and - perhaps most appropriately - special needs animals.

BUB and her dude launched BUB's Bubuddies late last year, highlighting animals that need some special lovin'. She's helped raise money for Jack, a tabby in need of a kidney transplant, Cindy Loo Hoo, who was hit by a car on Christmas Eve and Kohl, a black long-haired kitten born without a tail. BUB's also raised significant contributions for Pets Alive, a spay-neuter program, The Exotic Feline Rescue Center, Monroe County Humane Society, and a handful of other animal advocacy programs.

We've loved this tiny cat for a long time, and finally took a road trip to visit her. In celebration of Valentine's Day and all things cat love, we're highlighting other special needs Bloomington kitties, all of which are available for adoption at Bloomington Animal Care and Control right now, as well as 15 other programs serving animals in Central Indiana. But first, let's talk to BUB.

NUVO: What's a typical day in the life of BUB?

BUB: Hey it's me, BUB. Oh, you know, nothing special. Eat, sleep, save the planet, sleep, repeat.

NUVO: Where did you come from, BUB? How did you meet your dude?

BUB: Well, I actually wound up here when my space pod crashed onto your planet, but no one seems to believe that. So, a more digestible version is that I was born the runt of an otherwise healthy litter of feral kittens in a tool shed in rural Indiana. A nice woman found me and noticed that I was special and couldn't nurse because of my funny mouth (and also because I'm an alien), so she took me in and bottle fed me.

She wasn't able to give me a home, so once I was healthy enough to eat, her son gave me to his friend. His friend decided she couldn't take another cat in, so she texted this other guy, my dude, a picture of me. And apparently, he thought I was the best thing ever and took me home with him. We've been roommates and best pals since.

NUVO: You've got some pretty unique traits, BUB. What should people know about unique cats like you?

BUB: Well, there aren't any other cats like me - I'm the one and only bubcat. What you should know about me is that I am a "perma-kitten" which means I stay kitten-like forever. This is due to a severe case of dwarfism. I also have remarkably giant green eyes, extra toes on every paw, opposable thumbs, an underdeveloped lower jaw, no teeth (they never grew in) and a magical tongue that hangs out because of my jaw and lack of teeth. I also have an exceptionally rare bone disease called osteopetrosis which causes bone deformities in my limbs and causes me to walk funny. Earth people call it an "army crawl."

You should also know that I can travel through space and time, can see far into the future and deep into your soul, and I love fishes and yogurt.

NUVO: What's so great about having a special needs bud?

BUB: I am a special needs bud because I am not from your planet. So it's hard for me to walk around (the gravity here is really intense). I get confused about where to pee, but for some reason I know exactly where to poop. I need to eat special food and have to see the doctor regularly. I can't do all of this without my dude, so he takes care of it all for me. For that, I am eternally grateful, and I reward him with unconditional love, beard cleanings and super human powers.

click to enlarge BUB and Dude - KELLY LYNN MITCHELL
  • BUB and Dude
  • Kelly Lynn Mitchell

NUVO: Tell me about some of the animals you've helped with the Bubuddies program.

BUB: My Bubuddies Facebook page is a place for me to share stories about needy pets, animal shelters and other animal charities. There are a lot of animals that need homes or need help with their vet bills. So as a very fortunate special needs cat with a lot of influence, I try to help out my pals all over the world.

NUVO: How can animal lovers like us help?

BUB: There's a lot you can do. For a start, you can help by simply choosing to adopt your pet from an animal shelter rather than from a breeder. There are millions of amazing homeless pets up for adoption every day in the U.S. And if people don't adopt them, they have to be put under. I am a perfect example of how you don't need to go to a breeder to get the most amazing cat on the planet (that's me).

Also, be sure you spay and neuter your pets. There is a horrible pet overpopulation problem in the U.S. - and all over the world - and the only direct solution is to spay and neuter. You can also help by encouraging others to do the same. Beyond that, you can donate to your local humane association, pet rescue or animal shelter. (Editor's note: See our local organizations on page 12.) These places are filled with amazing people who dedicate their lives to helping out homeless, neglected and abused animals, and any contribution big or small, will help them save more amazing animals like me.

NUVO: Who are some other famous Internet cats you've met on your travels?

BUB: I've had the pleasure of meeting Colonel Meow. In fact, he will be appearing in my upcoming book. I also met Pudge the Cat in Minneapolis. She was scared of me.

click to enlarge BUB in Valentine's yarn - KELLY LYNN MITCHELL
  • BUB in Valentine's yarn
  • Kelly Lynn Mitchell

NUVO: Why do you think people love cats so much, BUB?

BUB: The same reason they love tacos and pizza, 'cause they're awesome.

NUVO: You've traveled to New York, Minnesota, and all over Indiana. What's your favorite part of traveling with your dude? Share a memory from your travels with us.

BUB: Yeah, I like to travel cause it's the closest I'll get to flying my space pod again. I remember one time when we were in New York City and this crazy bird flew over my head while a man was eating a hot dog only two feet away. That was incredible.

NUVO: Your friends on the Internet have sent you some pretty interesting fan art. What's your favorite BUB tribute?

BUB: You know I have to say, I love it all. We don't have art on my planet, so every one of these things blows my mind. In fact, it's the only thing on your planet that is a mystery to me.

NUVO: Your dude works in the music industry - what are some of your favorite tunes, BUB? Do you listen to music from your hometown of Bloomington?

BUB: I only like and listen to one song. It's "Tom Sawyer" by RUSH. My dude is pretty sick of it.

NUVO: We're celebrating Valentine's Day tomorrow. What are some things you love, BUB?

BUB: Most of all I love myself. Besides that I love fishes, yogurt and hot air balloons.

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